All Blacks Make Three Changes for Springboks Clash

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The All Blacks team to play South Africa in the highly-anticipated Investec Rugby Championship match in Wellington has been named.
New Zealand will play South Africa for the first time this year at Westpac Stadium on Saturday 13 September (kick-off: 7.35PM NZT live on SKY TV).

The team is (with Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV:1. Wyatt Crockett (30)
2. Dane Coles (21)
3. Owen Franks (60)
4. Brodie Retallick (30)
5. Jeremy Thrush (6)
6. Steven Luatua (12)
7. Richie McCaw (c) (130)
8. Kieran Read (65)
9. Aaron Smith (32)
10. Aaron Cruden (34)
11. Julian Savea (25)
12. Ma’a Nonu (93)
13. Conrad Smith (79)
14. Ben Smith (32)
15. Israel Dagg (40)

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu (116)
17. Joe Moody (2)
18. Ben Franks (34
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (2)
20. Sam Cane (17)
21. TJ Perenara (6)
22. Beauden Barrett (22)
23. Cory Jane (50)

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The changes to the team which beat Argentina on the weekend are mainly injury-related, with Jeremy Thrush coming in at lock and Steven Luatua at blindside flanker for the injured Sam Whitelock and Liam Messam respectively, with Patrick Tuipulotu on the bench.Meanwhile, Aaron Cruden has recovered from his chest injury to take his place in the number 10 jersey, with Beauden Barrett moving to the bench. Cory Jane also comes into the match day squad as outside back cover.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “This week we have to find a desperation and hunger in our performance because we know that that is something the South Africans will be bringing after their loss to Australia. As well they have already stated they have a desire to get a win against us.”

“After two wonderful matches last year, I know our guys are really looking forward to this match. We have the utmost respect for South Africa and looking forward to Saturday night.”

Several players will reach personal milestones this weekend.

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All Blacks prop Owen Franks will become the third most capped All Blacks prop of all time: he has played 60 Tests and is currently equal with Craig Dowd, with Greg Somerville second on 66 and Tony Woodcock out in front on 110 Tests.Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu will equal the record for a midfield partnership this weekend when they play their 55th Test together. Smith will also play his 80th Test this weekend, overtaking Ian Jones to become the 10th most capped All Black of all time. Nonu, who will play his 94th Test this weekend, is the sixth most capped All Black.

Meanwhile, Aaron Cruden heads into the weekend on 99 points scored in the Investec Rugby Championship.

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The All Blacks and South Africa have played each other 87 times, with 50 wins to the All Blacks, 34 to the Springboks and three draws. The last two matches between the two sides in last year’s Investec Rugby Championship saw the All Blacks win 29-15 in Auckland and the epic Johannesburg Test 38-27.
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