Mo'unga gets No.10 jersey back from Barrett
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Richie Mo’unga has been restored as flyhalf and the loose forwards have been revamped as a chastened All Blacks look to make an emphatic statement in the second Test against Fiji in Hamilton on Saturday.
“People expect perfection,” coach Ian Foster said as he named his side on Thursday after the All Blacks were widely criticised for their performance in the first Test last weekend against Fiji.
The final score of 57-23 masked the fact that until Fiji ran out of steam with 20 minutes remaining, the All Blacks were clinging to an eight-point lead and losing the battle at the breakdown.
The second Test team sees a return from injury for midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown and loose forward Ardie Savea, who will both be starting their 50th Test.
The starting front row is unchanged, with hooker Codie Taylor and props George Bower and Nepo Laulala with Dane Coles, who swung the match last week with four tries, again coming off the bench.
Samuel Whitelock returns to captain the side at lock and will partner Scott Barrett in the middle row with Brodie Retallick dropping to the bench.
There is a complete change in the loose forwards, who take on a more physical presence with Savea being joined by Akira Ioane and Luke Jacobson.
Aaron Smith is united with Mo’unga in the halves and Beauden Barrett has been switched to the replacements.
David Havili, who straightened the line well in the first Test, partners Lienert-Brown in the midfield with Will Jordan, Sevu Reece and Damian McKenzie forming the back three.
Foster said the performance against Fiji was better than the All Blacks’ season opener when they whipped an under-strength Tonga 102-0 “but it did highlight some areas we need to keep growing.
“This campaign has been about growing our game and making sure we have players that are ready to go for what will be a long season.”
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Rieko Ioane.
Date: Saturday, July 17
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (07.05 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Aaron Patterson (New Zealand)