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All Blacks shuffle the backline for Wallabies rematch

By Tom Vinicombe

Trending on RugbyPass

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Despite securing a 33-25 win last weekend against the Wallabies in their opening Bledisloe Cup match of the season, Ian Foster has made a couple of changes to the All Blacks for their rematch at Eden Park on Saturday.

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In the front row, George Bower, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala hold their spots while last weekend’s locking combo of Brodie Retallick and captain Sam Whitelock is also retained. Scott Barrett has been reinstated onto the bench, however, after initially being named there for the first match but withdrawing late in favour of Patrick Tuipulotu.

The loose forward trio of Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii and Ardie Savea have held their places, with Luke Jacobson the sole loose forward on the bench.

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In the backs, the halves and midfield combos of Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga, and David Havili all start while Rieko Ioane has been moved into centre from the left wing. Anton Lienert-Brown drops out of the side altogether due to a knee injury.

TJ Perenara returns to the All Blacks bench for his first test since starting in Brisbane against the Wallabies last year.

In a rejigged back three, Will Jordan comes in at No 14 while Sevu Reece moves over to the left wing to cover for Ioane, while Damian McKenzie gets another start at fullback.

Samisoni Taukei’aho – who replaced Coles at the last for the first Bledisloe, stays on the bench while Beauden Barrett and Jordie Barrett will cover the outside backs.

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Last weekend, the All Blacks battled their way to a 33-8 lead early in the final quarter of the match but the Wallabies fought back in the dying stages of the game once the respective benches were emptied.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:05pm NZT from Eden Park in Auckland – where the Wallabies haven’t tasted victory since 1986.

All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower. . Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett.

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All Blacks shuffle the backline for Wallabies rematch

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