New Zealand make four changes for final round clash against Rugby Championship

Kieran Read returns to New Zealand line-up
Kieran Read returns to New Zealand line-up

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has made four changes in the line-up for the final round of the Rugby Championship against South Africa to be played in Pretoria on Saturday.

Skipper Kieran Read, who was rested for the game against Argentina last round has returned to the line-up along with prop Owen Franks with Ardie Savea and Ofa Tuungafasi moving to the bench.

Aaron Smith returns at scrum-half with TJ Perenara swapping place on the bench while the final change sees Jack Goodhue named at outside centre allowing Ryan Crotty to provide impact from the bench.

“Test matches between the All Blacks and Springboks are always intense and dramatic contests, and we expect this weekend will be no different.

“It’s a Test match that everyone in New Zealand expects us to win. The fact that it’s an All Blacks-Springboks Test match makes it even more exciting and it’s one that we’re really looking forward to.

“South Africa are playing with alot of confidence and after their two recent wins, their confidence levels will be even higher. So we’ll need to respond with real purpose, composure, belief and intensity.

“While our preparation this week has had to be slightly modified because of our travel, it has still been thorough, which should put us in good stead for Saturday.”

The last time these two teams met was in the round four of the competition that saw Springboks edge out All Blacks 34-36 in Wellington.

New Zealand line-up: Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (c), Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Samuel Whitelock, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Karl Tu’inukuafe

Replacements: Nathan Harris, Tim Perry, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty

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