Savea returns to All Blacks team for Eden Park

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

 Winger Julian Savea has returned to the All Blacks side for Saturday's Eden Park Bledisloe clash, in the only change to the starting XV that beat South Africa a fortnight ago.

Savea takes the place of Waisake Naholo on the left wing, after missing that record 57-15 win over South Africa.

Two changes on the bench bring the total turnover to three for New Zealand this week, with injured playmaker Aaron Cruden and centre Malakai Fekitoa coming into the reserves.

Sam Cane has been cleared of concussion ahead of this weekend's semis. Photo: Getty ImagesFlanker Sam Cane will take a step towards a Test return this weekend, available to play for his province, along with Naholo and halfback Augustine Pulu.

The All Blacks are on the verge of 18 consecutive Test wins, a tally that would be a record for a Tier One nation and one that has been halted by the Wallabies twice before, most recently in 2012.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said they were expecting an improved Wallabies outfit at Eden Park, where the All Blacks haven't lost since 1994.

"The squad is feeling refreshed and raring to go after our return from South Africa, and we're all looking forward to what we know is a hugely-anticipated Test match at Eden Park. We've been focussed in our preparation this week and there's a strong resolve within the group to put in another performance we can be proud of," he said.

"Australia will be coming here with a lot more confidence than when we played earlier in the season. 

"They've made some significant changes to their game and would like nothing better to end their Southern Hemisphere Test season with a win.

"They've said they are keen to bring it on, and have outlined their intentions, so the stage is set for another huge trans-Tasman battle.  It's a challenge we're really looking forward to."

All Blacks team

1. Joe Moody

2. Dane Coles 

3. Owen Franks

4. Brodie Retallick

5. Samuel Whitelock

6. Jerome Kaino 

7. Matt Todd

8. Kieran Read

9.  TJ Perenara 

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Julian Savea

12. Ryan Crotty

13. Anton Lienert-Brown

14. Israel Dagg

15. Ben Smith


16. Codie Taylor 

17. Wyatt Crockett 

18. Charlie Faumuina 

19. Liam Squire

20. Ardie Savea

21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow

22. Aaron Cruden

23. Malakai Fekitoa