New Zealand ring the changes for Bledisloe II game

Sam Cane returns as captain for New Zealand
Sam Cane returns as captain for New Zealand

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has made mass changes to the matchday squad for the second Bledisloe Cup encounter against Australia in Dunedin on Saturday.

The starting line up has two debutants in Shaun Stevenson starting at right wing with his Chiefs teammate Samipeni Finau starting at blinside flank. Dallas McLeod is also set to win his first cap for the All Blacks as he was named on the bench.

Will Jordan makes a shift from right wing to fullback while Braydon Ennor and Anton Lienert-Brown form the midfield partnership. Leicester Fainga’anuku will make his first appearance in the year on left wing while Damian McKenzie will get another opportunity at fly-half with Richie Mo’unga providing cover from the bench.

Sam Cane returns as captain and will be part of the back row that also has Ardie Savea and Finau while the experienced Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick form the second row partnership.

Foster has named a new look front row in Nepo Laulala, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Tamati Williams for the dead rubber contest having already claimed the Bledisloe Cup for the 21st consecutive year following their victory in Melbourne.

“Despite having won both the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup last week, this Test is special for us as we finish this stage of our preparation for later in the year,” Foster said.

“It is our last chance to play in front of our fans and, even with some changes, it is a big opportunity for us to take another step forward as a team.”

New Zealand: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Tamaiti Williams.

Reserves: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Dallas McLeod.