George Bridge and Sevu Reece included in New Zealand line-up for encounter against Australia

George Bridge has played three Tests for New Zealand
George Bridge has played three Tests for New Zealand
©Steve Haag

Crusaders duo George Bridge and Sevu Reece have been included in New Zealand's line-up for the upcoming second Bledisloe Cup encounter against Australia to be played in Auckland this Saturday.

The decision follows after head coach Steve Hansen has decided to leave out experienced duo Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith from the matchday 23 squad. Sonny Bill Williams also makes a return at the inside centre with Anton Lienert-Brown moved to outside centre pushing Jack Goodhue out.

Richie Mo’unga retains the fly-half position with Beauden Barrett continuing at fullback with Aaron Smith at scrum-half.

The final two changes see Scott Barrett, who is on a three game suspension replaced by Patrick Tuipulotu while Nepo Laulala replacing Owen Franks at tighthead prop.

“We have worked hard this week on our game and all that comes with it. We’ve had a great preparation and really excited and looking forward to a massive, must-win match for the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday," said Hansen.

“We know that Australia will be determined and confident after their win in Perth which makes the challenge even more exciting.

“It’s a sellout which is fantastic, and we hope our fans are in full voice – we’re always buoyed by the massive support we receive from our fans and we look forward to more of the same on Saturday night.”

New Zealand starting line-up: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 Joe Moody, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Kieran Read (c).

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jordie Barrett.

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