New Zealand receive Beauden Barrett boost for second Bledisloe Cup Test

Beauden Barrett missed the first game in Wellington due to injury
Beauden Barrett missed the first game in Wellington due to injury

New Zealand have included Beauden Barrett in the line-up for the upcoming second Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia to be played at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Barrett missed the first game due to injury and was replaced by Damian McKenzie in the starting XV but the latter now drops to the bench.

Barrett's inclusion is one of the five changes made by head coach Ian Foster as Anton Lienert-Brown returns to centre forming partnership with Jack Goodhue. As George Bridge is out of the season with an injury, Caleb Clarke returns at wing joining Jordie Barrett.

Dane Coles returns as hooker in the place of Codie Taylor, who is now among the replacements while Sam Whitelock is ruled out of the game as he developed concussion symptoms following the first game with Tupou Vaa’i taking his place. The bench also features Alex Hodgman, who could make his Test debut for the All Blacks.

“Our preparation this week has been really good," said Foster.

"It was our first Test together last weekend and while there were some aspects of our game that we were pretty excited about, especially around our set piece, we didn’t get the performance that we wanted, so there has been plenty for us to work on.

"We need to be smarter with our ball and more focussed defensively.

“The Bledisloe series is back to square one and starts again this weekend, which is exciting. It’s the last Test at home for us so there will also be massive excitement amongst our fans. There is everything to play for and we can’t wait.”

Following the game, the two teams will meet once again in the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on 31st October.

New Zealand starting line-up: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mounga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Reserves: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Rieko Ioane, 23 Damian McKenzie