The All Blacks team has been named to play South Africa in the Investec Rugby Championship Test at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday 6 October, (Kick off 5.05PM, NZT: 4.05AM Sunday 7 October)
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets.):
1.Karl Tu’inukuafe (8)
2. Codie Taylor (37)
3. Owen Franks (102)
4. Samuel Whitelock (104)
5. Scott Barrett (24)
6. Shannon Frizell (4)
7. Sam Cane (59)
8. Kieran Read (113) – captain
9. Aaron Smith (78)
10. Beauden Barrett (68)
11. Rieko Ioane (19)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (48)
13. Jack Goodhue (5)
14. Waisake Naholo (23)
15. Ben Smith (73)
16. Nathan Harris (17)
17. Tim Perry (4)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (21)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (18)
20. Ardie Savea (30)
21. TJ Perenara (50)
22. Richie Mo’unga (3)
23. Ryan Crotty (40)
The matchday 23 sees just two changes to the forward pack, with 102-Test prop Owen Franks back at tighthead prop and All Blacks Captain Kieran Read returning at number eight. Ofa Tuungafasi moves to the run on reserves.
In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the starting halfback spot with TJ Perenara on the bench, while Jack Goodhue has been named at centre for his sixth Test, with Ryan Crotty to provide impact off the bench in the 23 jersey.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Test matches between the All Blacks and Springboks are always intense and dramatic contests, and we expect this weekend will be no different.
He added that the fact that the All Blacks had won the Investec Rugby Championship last weekend had no bearing on this weekend.
“Nothing changes for us. It’s a Test match that everyone in New Zealand expects us to win. The fact that it’s an All Blacks-Springboks Test match makes it even more exciting and it’s one that we’re really looking forward to.
“South Africa are playing with a lot of confidence and after their two recent wins, their confidence levels will be even higher. So we’ll need to respond with real purpose, composure, belief and intensity.
“While our preparation this week has had to be slightly modified because of our travel, it has still been thorough, which should put us in good stead for Saturday.”
- The All Blacks have scored 320 points and 48 tries in their eight matches this year – which works out at 40 points and six tries per Test. The All Blacks have also shared the try-scoring honours around: 21 players have scored those 48 tries.
- Rieko Ioane is the leading try scorer in the world with nine so far in 2018. Ioane scored his 20th try last weekend which made him the 34th All Black to score 100 points in Test matches. He is also the 21st All Black to score 20 tries in Test matches.
- The All Blacks and South Africa have played each other 96 times since 1921, with 57 wins to the All Blacks, 36 to South Africa and three draws.
- This weekend’s Pretoria Test will be the All Blacks 1300th game and 575th Test. The All Blacks and South Africa have played each other five times at Loftus Versfeld, with the last Test there in 2006, a 45-26 victory to the All Blacks.
- The All Blacks Rugby Championship win this year means they have now won six times since 2012. (2012 – 2014 and 2016-2018, as well as a Rugby Championship “Grand Slam” in 2012 – 2013 and 2016-2017).
- The match will kick off at 5.05PM local time (NZT: 4.05AM Sunday morning) and will be broadcast in New Zealand LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on SKY Sport.
The Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks games
1. Australia 13 All Blacks 38. Saturday 18 August, ANZ Stadium, SYDNEY
2. All Blacks 40 Australia 12. Saturday 25 August, Eden Park, AUCKLAND
3. All Blacks 46 Argentina 24. Saturday 8 September, Trafalgar Park, NELSON
4. All Blacks 34 South Africa 36. Saturday 15 Sept, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
5. Argentina 17 All Blacks 35. Sat 29 Sept, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, BUENOS AIRES
6. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 6 October, 5.05PM, Loftus Versfeld, PRETORIA