Perenara, McKenzie to start against Wallabies

by Sam Phillips

Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara and Joe Moody will start for New Zealand among a heap of changes made by coach Steve Hansen for the Yokohama Bledisloe.

In what will be Sonny Bill Williams' 50th Test Hansen has staggered the return of his fit again stars but sprung a couple of changes in the backs with the inclusion of Perenara and McKenzie.

Aaron Smith will provide bench cover for the Hurricanes halfback but it is perhaps the shift of Ben Smith to the wing to accommodate McKenzie that will raise most eyebrows.

Of the returning stars both Moody and Liam Squire will slot straight back into the starting XV, while Brodie Retallick will make his injury comeback from the bench alongside prop Nepo Laulala.

Steve Hansen has defended his lock Brode Retallick. Photo: Getty ImagesFlanker Matt Todd also returns to the 23 as bench cover with Ardie Savea promoted to the starting XV after Sam Cane was ruled out with a neck injury. 

Star hooker Dane Coles has not been named in the squad despite rejoining the team in Japan after an injury- riddled year, with the All Blacks keen to take the cautious route with him.

"We’ll be up against a good Australian team and they’ll be desperate to win, but so are we," Hansen said.

"We know that they’ll come with a lot of passion and physicality, but our focus this week has been about us and what we want to bring — intensity, skill and a triple threat game.

"Being well prepared, clear in our roles and excited about the opportunity in playing this one-off Test against Australia in Japan, will be a good start in achieving a quality performance."

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks in Yokohama on Saturday October 27, kicking off at 3pm local, 5pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RADIO.


IN: Joe Moody, Liam Squire, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown,Brodie Retallick, Matt Todd, Nepo Laulala, 

OUT: Tim Perry, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Waisake Naholo, Jack Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, 

All Blacks team to face the Wallabies in Japan

1. Joe Moody (36)

2. Codie Taylor (38)

3. Owen Franks (103)

4. Samuel Whitelock (105)

5. Scott Barrett (25)

6. Liam Squire (20)

7. Ardie Savea (31)

8. Kieran Read – captain (114)

9. TJ Perenara (51)

10. Beauden Barrett (69)

11. Rieko Ioane (20)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (49)

13. Ryan Crotty (41)

14. Ben Smith (73)

15. Damian McKenzie (19)


16. Nathan Harris (18) 

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (9)

18. Nepo Laulala (13)

19. Brodie Retallick (71)

20. Matt Todd (14)

21. Aaron Smith (79)

22. Richie Mo’unga (4)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (30)