Richie Mo’unga will make his first Test start when the All Blacks face Argentina in Nelson this Saturday.
Besides the inclusion of Mo’unga, who starred for the Crusaders this past Super Rugby season, Nehe Milner-Skudder will make his return to the All Blacks side on the wing.
Other changes among the backs see TJ Perenara named to start at scrumhalf and Ben Smith moved back to fullback, while halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi is set for his Test debut off the bench.
In the forwards, Karl Tu’inukuafe starts at loosehead prop, while Scott Barrett slots into the second row. Shannon Frizell will make his second Test start at blindside flank, with Ardie Savea and Kieran Read completing the loose trio.
‘While we’ve made a number of changes from our last outing, this is not a reflection on Argentina, but rather a desire by us to grow the experience and depth of our squad,’ All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.
‘Secondary to that, we also know that if we don’t use the whole squad across a long season, we’ll run out of steam later in the year.’
All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images