Rugby Championship 2014: New Zealand team to face Australia

all blacksSteve Hansen has made several changes to the New Zealand team that drew with Australia in the first round of The Rugby Championship for this weekend’s return fixture.

Ryan Crotty makes his first start in an All Blacks shirt at inside centre, and is joined by the returning Conrad Smith outside him. Liam Messam starts at 6 in the absence of the injured Jerome Kaino, while Charlie Faumuina returns from illness to take his place on the bench.

New Zealand team to play Australia:

15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa

Date: Saturday, August 23
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Romain Poite

2 thoughts on “Rugby Championship 2014: New Zealand team to face Australia

  1. Think Fekitoa might end up with relatively few caps (or at least starting caps). He has incredibly impressive physicality and skill level, but he does not seem to fit into the All Blacks team at the moment. If SBW returns then with either Nonu or SBW at inside the AB surely want someone more of the mold of Conrad Smith. Crotty seems to fit this much more than Fekitoa.

    Trying to fit in Fekitoa could result in the ABs have the same problems England are having. Centres who show talent for their clubs, but can’t seem to form an effective international partnership.

    That said, replacinf Smith C is a pretty big ask for any player. Much like BOD, he just does not seem to have a weakness in his game.

  2. Seems some substance to what you say regrds Fekitoa, altho he didn’t shine for Auck, but did for Otago. He can ran @ & over people & can also make breaks, but was more intent on the former today. Must add guile. Maybe he was trying too hard?

    Dunno abt money Bill, tho. The AB selectors didn’t trust the attention seeker to start in the last WC. Likely wary of his (non) commitment. Has anything changed? Going for another shot @ personal glory again nxt yr? The Dogs couldn’t trust him… & this boxing lark whilst an ‘AB’!? Dodgy for me. Besides Crotty didn’t look too sluggish today.

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