All Blacks captain Kieran Read has been named to return for New Zealand’s Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Pretoria.


Read, 32, is back for his side’s final game of the tournament, which they have already won, on Saturday.

He returns at number eight in place of Ardie Savea in one of four changes to the starting team that overcame Argentina 35-17 in Buenos Aires last time out.

Veteran Owen Franks replaces Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Aaron Smith takes TJ Perenara’s spot at scrum-half and Jack Goodhue is in for Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said his team’s approach would not change, despite having sealed the Rugby Championship title.

“Nothing changes for us,” he said.

“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’ only loss in the Rugby Championship came against the Springboks, who claimed a shock 36-34 victory in Wellington last month.

New Zealand: Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Karl Tu’inukuafe, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.

Replacements: Nathan Harris, Tim Perry, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty.

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