UPDATE 1-Rugby-Mo'unga keeps All Blacks flyhalf spot for Australia testReuters | Perth | Updated: 08-08-2019 06:19 IST | Created: 08-08-2019 06:18 IST
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen made six changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's Rugby Championship test against Australia on Thursday but retained Richie Mo'unga at flyhalf with Beauden Barrett again slotting in at fullback.
Hansen, looking to have a good look at his options before the World Cup title defence begins in Japan next month, first used the experimental formation for the 16-16 draw with the Springboks in Wellington two weeks ago. Lock Brodie Retallick dislocated his shoulder in that test, forcing one of the changes to the starting side for Saturday's match in Perth with Scott Barrett coming back from injury to join Sam Whitelock in the second row.
Sonny Bill Williams, who has been sent back to provincial rugby to improve his match fitness, is replaced at inside centre by Anton Lienert-Brown with Ngani Laumape coming onto the bench. In-form loose forward Ardie Savea gets his chance to claim the far-from-settled blindside flanker position in his first start of the year, while Sam Cane was been named at openside flanker with Matt Todd relegated to the bench.
In other changes, Aaron Smith replaced TJ Perenara at scrumhalf and Dane Coles gets the start at hooker with Codie Taylor backing him up. Prop Atu Moli, who made his test debut against Argentina last month, comes back onto the bench along with lock Patrick Tuipulotu.
New Zealand: 15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Ben Smith, 13-Jack Goodhue, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 11-Rieko Ioane, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read (captain), 7-Sam Cane, 6-Ardie Savea, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Scott Barrett, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Dane Coles, 1-Joe Moody. Replacements: 16-Codie Taylor, 17-Atu Moli, 18-Angus Ta'avao, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Matt Todd, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Ngani Laumape, 23-George Bridge.