All Blacks bank on Messam
- 11 Sep 2013
The All Blacks have made five changes for their match against the Springboks in Auckland.
Liam Messam will start at blindside flank, with Steven Luatua dropping to the bench, while Ma'a Nonu returns at inside centre in place of Francis Saili, after recovering from an ankle injury.
Kieran Read will captain the team from No 8 in the absence of Richie McCaw, who has been ruled out for a month with a knee injury. With Sam Cane promoted to the No 7 jersey in McCaw's absence, Matt Todd is named in his place on the bench.
The other changes come in the front row, where Owen Franks and Dane Coles start alongside Tony Woodcock. Andrew Hore, who started against Argentina, has dropped out of the match-day squad.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the selection of Messam over Luatua was down to the former's experience and physicality, two essential factors in the battle at the breakdown against the Bok trio of Francois Louw, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen.
'In selecting the team, there were some tough decisions to be made, none more so than between Liam and Steven,' said Hansen. 'But in the end we have gone for Liam's extra experience and physicality.
'The physical challenge will be huge as it always it is and the team that executes its game with the greatest effectiveness, clarity and intensity will be the one that comes out on top.'
All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
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