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Gareth Thomas: 'This game means everything. We have to leave it all out there.'

The Ospreys and Wales loosehead expects a big reaction against Australia after the chastening loss to Georgia

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Ian Foster names new All Black back row for first Bledisloe test

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has named a new look back row, as was expected, for the first Bledisloe test at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Thursday night.

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Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu has earnt a start in the absence of Ardie Savea, who has stayed back in New Zealand for the birth of his third child, while Crusader Scott Barrett has once again been named at blindside in place of injured No 6 Shannon Frizell.

Outside of Sotutu’s elevation to the starting side, it is a largely familiar All Black team to what has been seen since the Ellis Park test in Johannesburg.

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In the front row, props Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax will pack down alongside Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho for the fourth consecutive test match. George Bower, Dane Coles and Fletcher Newell are the three front row reserves.

The experience of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock have been named in the second row, while no lock replacement has been named with Barrett available to move positions late in the game if needed.

Sam Cane captains the side at openside with two Blues flankers named in the reserves, Dalton Papalii and Akira Ioane, who had a career day the last time the All Blacks played the Wallabies in Australia in Perth last year.

The halves combination of Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga has been retained once again with Finlay Christie and Beauden Barrett named on the bench.

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David Havili and Rieko Ioane will continue to build their midfield combination while Caleb Clarke, Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan round out the back three. Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupaea has been named in the 23 jersey.

“We are incredibly driven to keep hold of this trophy which means so much to both countries,” Foster said in a statement.

“And when you factor in how tight this year’s Rugby Championship is, all signs point towards another great Test match here in Melbourne.”

A win in Melbourne would ensure the All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup for a 20th consecutive time since they won the trophy back in 2003, while it would be the 50th title win in the history of rivalry.

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With the series reduced back to a two-match affair for the first time since 2007, the Wallabies have to win both to retake the Bledisloe Cup.

All Blacks team to face the Wallabies:

1.Ethan de Groot (8 caps)
2.Samisoni Taukei’aho (15)
3.Tyrel Lomax (18)
4.Brodie Retallick (96)
5.Samuel Whitelock (138)
6.Scott Barrett (54)
7.Sam Cane © (84)
8.Hoskins Sotutu (10)
9.Aaron Smith (109)
10.Richie Mo’unga (39)
11.Caleb Clarke (9)
12.David Havili (20)
13.Rieko Ioane (54)
14.Will Jordan (19)
15.Jordie Barrett (43)
16.Dane Coles (83)
17.George Bower (18)
18.Fletcher Newell (3)
19.Akira Ioane (17)
20.Dalton Papali’i (16)
21.Finlay Christie (10)
22.Beauden Barrett (107)
23.Quinn Tupaea (13)

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