Weepu returns for All Blacks
September 13, 2012
Piri Weepu will make his first start of the year for the All Blacks against the Boks in Dunedin on Saturday © Getty Images
New Zealand have recalled Rugby World Cup-winning scrum-half Piri Weepu for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Dunedin on Saturday.
Weepu earns a promotion from the bench in the only change to the All Blacks' back line as a reward for steering his side past Argentina as a second half substitute in their most recent outing last weekend. Aaron Smith, who has started New Zealand's previous six Tests this year, is named among the replacements.
Coach Steve Hansen has opted for three changes up front in the wake of the bruising clash with the Pumas with another anticipated against the Boks. Sam Whitelock replaces Brodie Retallick at lock, Liam Messam comes in at blindside for Victor Vito and Andrew Hore takes the hooking duties from Keven Mealamu. Retallick, Vito and Mealamu all drop to the bench where there is also one other change that sees utility back Tamati Ellison drafted in at the expense of Ben Smith.
"At the halfway stage of the... Rugby Championship we are very happy, from a results point of view," Hansen said in a statement. "There is a second challenge we have set ourselves, to constantly improve our game and in that regard we are not the finished product. However, the coaching staff and team leaders are reasonably happy with the progress we are making."
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu; Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Victor Vito, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Tamati Ellison
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