All Blacks make three changes for Springboks

All Black coach Steve Hansen has named a team with three changes for this weekend’s Rugby Championship match in Wellington against South Africa’s Springboks.

Aaron Cruden returns to the starting line up after recovering from a chest injury sustained against Australia’s Wallabies and Beauden Barrett moving to the bench.

The other two changes are forced changes brought on by injuries. Lock Jeremy Thrush will make his first Test start in place of Sam Whitelock who damaged his rib cartilage last week.

The third change is Steven Luatua who comes in to replace blindside flanker Liam Messam who injured his quadricep while scoring a try last weekend.

On the replacements bench second rower Patrick Tuipulotu has recovered from an injury and takes Thrush’s place from last week while Cory Jane returns as an outside backs cover.

Israel Dagg has been retained at fullback which means that Ben Smith remains on the wing.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said that they will need to find a “hunger ” to win this week after South Africa lost to Australia last week.

“This week we have to find a desperation and hunger in our performance because we know that that is something the South Africans will be bringing after their loss to Australia, ” said Hansen.

“As well they have already stated they have a desire to get a win against us. “

“After two wonderful matches last year, I know our guys are really looking forward to this match. We have the utmost respect for South Africa and looking forward to Saturday night. “

Several players will reach personal milestones this weekend. Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu will equal the record for a midfield partnership this weekend when they play their 55th Test together.

All Blacks prop Owen Franks will become the third most capped All Blacks prop of all time: he has played 60 Tests and is currently equal with Craig Dowd, with Greg Somerville second on 66 and Tony Woodcock out in front on 110 Tests.

Smith will also play his 80th Test this weekend, overtaking Ian Jones to become the 10th most capped All Black of all time. Nonu, who will play his 94th Test this weekend, is the sixth most capped All Black.

Meanwhile, Aaron Cruden heads into the weekend on 99 points scored in the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand

1. Wyatt Crockett , 2. Dane Coles , 3. Owen Franks , 4. Brodie Retallick , 5. Jeremy Thrush , 6. Steven Luatua , 7. Richie McCaw (c) , 8. Kieran Read , 9. Aaron Smith , 10. Aaron Cruden , 11. Julian Savea , 12. Ma’a Nonu , 13. Conrad Smith , 14. Ben Smith , 15. Israel Dagg

Replacements : 16. Keven Mealamu , 17. Joe Moody , 18. Ben Franks , 19. Patrick Tuipulotu , 20. Sam Cane , 21. TJ Perenara , 22. Beauden Barrett , 23. Cory Jane

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