Conrad Smith has had to drop out of the All Blacks starting line-up for this weekends Bledisloe Cup game to attend the birth of his child.

Malakai Fekitoa has been drafted into the All Blacks starting XV in his place whilst Ryan Crotty takes the vacated bench spot.


Fekitoa will be looking to build on an outstanding season in Super Rugby which resulted in him earn his first two caps in the June tests against England.

Fekitoa will have some huge boots to fill as Conrad Smith is seen as the defensive coordinator of the All Blacks backline, especially given the exciting midfield line-up named by the Wallabies which will likely see Kurtley Beale drift between the 10 and 12 channels with club mate Adam Ashley-Cooper outside him in the 13 shirt.


Although not widely known for his defensive prowess Fekitoa is seen as one of the most exciting offensive prospects in New Zealand and could post plenty of questions for the Wallabies defence.

You can view the All Blacks line-up here.