Rieko Ioane dropped after costly mistake
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Injuries and form have forced the All Blacks to make five changes, including the return of Beauden Barrett, for the second Bledisloe Cup Test against the Wallabies in Auckland on Sunday.
Injured wing George Bridge and veteran lock Sam Whitelock have been replaced by Caleb Clarke and Tupou Vaa’i, while Rieko Ioane and Codie Taylor drop to the bench with make way for Anton Lienert-Brown and Dane Coles.
Lienert-Brown’s inclusion as the starting centre comes after Ioane ruined the chance for a certain try right on half-time when he dropped the ball when diving over the line.
Damian McKenzie, a late starter in the drawn first Test when Barrett was ruled out on the eve of the match, will take his place on the bench.
Despite the shake-up, coach Ian Foster said preparation had been “really good” as the All Blacks looked to step up a gear at Eden Park, where they have not lost in 26 years.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 15, 2020
“It was our first Test together last weekend and while there were some aspects of our game that we were pretty excited about, especially around our set piece, we didn’t get the performance that we wanted, so there has been plenty for us to work on,” Foster said.
“We need to be smarter with our ball and more focussed defensively.”
Aside from the inclusion of Vaai, the starting pack is the same as the one that struggled for parity against the Wallabies in the 16-16 draw that started the four-match series.
The matchday 23 features another new All Black with prop Alex Hodgman set to make his Test debut from the bench.
Vaai and Clarke, who made their debuts last week as replacements, are making their first Test start in their second outing.
The All Blacks replacements also include the 36-Test Scott Barrett, who has been sidelined by a foot injury for the past three months.
He comes into the side while Whitelock undergoes head injury assessment protocols after complaining of headaches after the first Test.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mounga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Rieko Ioane, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Date: Sunday, October 18
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 16.00 (14.00 AEDT; 03,00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keefe, Paul Williams
TMO: Mike Fraser
This is absolute gold from Dmac 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/Q3xyolyBQc
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 16, 2020