Sam Whitelock to lead New Zealand in Auckland game against Australia

Sam Whitelock will lead New Zealand in the Bledisloe Test at Eden Park
Sam Whitelock will lead New Zealand in the Bledisloe Test at Eden Park

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has named Sam Whitelock the captain for the final round of the Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Auckland.

The decision comes after regular skipper Sam Cane has failed a recover from a concussion that he sustained in the previous game in Melbourne that saw the All Blacks win 39-37.

Brodie Retallick will be partnering with Whitelock while Will Jordan and Caleb Clarke are retained at wings. Scott Barrett, David Havili and Quinn Tupaea will also be missing the encounter due to injuries with Beauden Barrett taking slot at fullback shifting his brother Jordie to midfield.

Ardie Savea, who missed the previous game due to the birth of his third child returns to back row that also has Dalton Papali’i and Akira Ioane.

The front row also sees a change with Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor replacing Samisoni Taukei’aho.

“This year’s Rugby Championship is so tightly contested and our group is continuing to make shifts to improve,” Foster said.

“We are determined to finish the tournament strongly and we know that Australia will throw everything at us. This is what Test match rugby is all about and we can’t wait.

“Saturday’s sold-out double-header at Eden Park is special for our two national teams. We are right in behind the Black Ferns as they take on Japan and we all wish them well.”

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot

Reserves: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 23 Sevu Reece