Hoskins Sotutu starts for New Zealand against Australia

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster
New Zealand head coach Ian Foster

New Zealand have made three changes to the side for the first Bledisloe Test to be played against Australia at Marvel Stadium on Thursday.

The absence of Ardie Savea, who is expecting the birth of his third child will see Hoskins Sotutu taking his place in a new look back row that also has skipper Sam Cane.

The injury to Shannon Frizell sees Scott Barrett shifted from second row to blindside with Brodie Retallick, who made a successful comeback from a cheekbone fracture in the previous game joining Sam Whitelock as the designated locks.

Retallick's place on the bench has been taken by Akira Ioane with Beauden Barrett also continuing to be among the replacements to provide cover for Richie Mo'unga.

“We are incredibly driven to keep hold of this trophy which means so much to both countries,” Foster said.

“And when you factor in how tight this year’s Rugby Championship is, all signs point towards another great Test match here in Melbourne.”

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Scott Barrett, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ethan de Groot

Reserves: 16 Dane Coles, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Quinn Tupaea