Hansen rings the changes for Pumas clash
September 6, 2012
Aaron Cruden starts at fly-half for the All Blacks © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made six changes for their match with the Pumas in Wellington on Saturday.
Star fly-half Dan Carter was originally named in the starting XV but he has been forced to pull out due to a calf strain. Aaron Cruden comes into the side in his place while there are also starts for Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Victor Vito, Brodie Retallick and Tony Woodcock.
Savea replaces Hosea Gear while Smith comes in for the now departed Sonny bill Williams. Vito starts in Liam Messam's place with Retallick given the nod over Sam Whitelock and Woodcock replacing Wyatt Crockett.
The All Blacks have won their first two matches of the Rugby Championship thanks to back-to-back wins over the Wallabies but Hansen is adamant that the Pumas will not be an easy game. Hansen told ONE Sport: "We were happy with our intensity and attitude in the last Test against Australia, but not so happy with our execution when we didn't get the decision-making process right on occasions, so we are looking for improvement in that area this weekend.
"It is going to be very physical, especially up front where they are traditionally very strong. We also have immense respect for their backline abilities plus they have one of the best defensive structures in modern rugby. They are always looking to work as a unit to shut you down."
New Zealand: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Brodie Retallick, Victor Vito, Richie McCaw (c), Kieran Read
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Charlie Faumuina, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton