New Zealand make five changes for Wallabies Test
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has omitted fly-half Aaron Cruden from his matchday squad for Saturday's third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia despite making five changes to the team that lost to South Africa two weeks ago.
Cruden was restored to the squad last week after being dropped for the win in Argentina and defeat in Johannesburg in the Rugby Championship because he missed a pre-departure meeting for the tour in the wake of a boozy night out.
With Dan Carter still injured, Beauden Barrett looks now to have displaced Cruden as first choice fly-half for the All Blacks and will again be backed up from the bench by Colin Slade at Lang Park on Saturday.
New Zealand have already ensured they will retain the Bledisloe Cup after a 12-12 draw and 51-20 victory in their first two matches this season against Australia.
"There were some aspects of our game in the loss to South Africa that we weren't happy with and we have worked hard on addressing those this week," Hansen said.
"There is always an expectation that when you pull on the All Blacks jersey, that individually and collectively as a team, you will play well and this week is no different."
Hansen has restored hooker Dane Coles and prop Wyatt Crockett to his front row, Liam Messam displaces Jerome Kaino at blindside flanker and Cory Jane will start on the right wing in place of the rested Ben Smith.
Brodie Retallick returns at lock after recovering from a concussion with Patrick Tuipulotu providing cover for the second row from the bench and Jeremy Thrush dropping out of the squad.
Scrum-half TJ Perenara comes onto the bench in place of Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who has been ruled out for the season by a knee injury, while Sam Cane and Charles Piutau are brought in to cover for the back row and back three respectively.
Team: 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Malakai Fekitoa, 11-Julian Savea, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 6-Liam Messam, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Dane Coles, 1-Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16-Keven Mealamu, 17-Ben Franks, 18-Charlie Faumuina, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Sam Cane, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Colin Slade, 23-Charles Piutau.