All Blacks make three changes for Bledisloe Cup decider

by staff

The All Blacks have made three changes to their starting XV that went down 27-19 to the Qantas Wallabies in Sydney a week ago. Saturday’s team will be the most experienced All Blacks starting team in their history with 531 caps between them.

Ma’a Nonu replaces an injured Sonny Bill Williams in what will be his first match in three weeks, while lock Sam Whitelock has been promoted from the bench for Luke Romano, and Victor Vito will start ahead of Jerome Kaino.

The experienced Keven Mealamu has been named on the bench for his 126th Test cap alongside Wyatt Crockett and Colin Slade who are the only changes to the eight-man bench.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "This game is one of the best challenges we could have. We pride ourselves on our performance and last week's wasn't good enough, so we have been working hard at all areas of our game. We know we have to be smarter, more accurate and bring more intensity right across the park.

In what will most likely be his last game on home soil, All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw will break Ireland legend, Brian O’Driscoll’s world record of the most Test matches ever played when he leads his side out for his 142nd Test in the Bledisloe Cup decider.

Australian fans can watch the match live on Fox Sports Australia and the Ten Network from 5:30pm AEST on Saturday.

Starting XV:

1. Tony Woodcock (114)

2. Dane Coles (29)

3. Owen Franks (71)

4. Brodie Retallick (20)

5. Samuel Whitelock (65)

6. Victor Vito (27)

7. Richie McCaw - captain (141)

8. Kieran Read (76)

9. Aaron Smith (40)

10. Daniel Carter (105)

11. Julian Savea (34)

12. Ma'a Nonu (96)

13. Conrad Smith (87)

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (1)

15. Ben Smith (40)


16. Keven Mealamu (125)

17. Wyatt Crockett (39)

18. Nepo Laulala (3)

19. Jerome Kaino (59)

20. Sam Cane (23)

21. TJ Perenara (14)

22. Colin Slade (19)

23. Malakai Fekitoa (10)