Savea bolsters AB backline

Julian Savea has returned to the All Blacks starting line-up for the second Test against England in Dunedin, while Ben Smith has been moved to fullback.

Israel Dagg is battling with thigh and knee injuries, and has not trained with the All Blacks this week. This injury blow has, however, presented coach Steve Hansen with an opportunity to play Smith in his preferred position of No 15, as Savea has recovered from his own ailment and will start on the left wing.

The All Blacks are still without No 8 Kieran Read, who has been sidelined for some time due to a concussion. Hansen has opted to stick with the same pack that started against England in the first Test, backing them to turn in an improved showing.

A win for the All Blacks on Saturday will hand the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.

All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 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 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.

June Test teams (Week 2)

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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