Hames gets first start for All Blacks

 

 

Kane HamesProp Kane Hames gets his first start for the All Blacks in Saturday’s Rugby Championship game against South Africa in Albany.

Hames comes in for the injured Joe Moody…. it will be his third Test.

It’s an inexperienced propping duo starting with Nepo Laulala having played just six Tests.

In other changes, lock Sam Whitelock, loosies Liam Squire and Sam Cane, halfback Aaron Smith, wing Rieko Ioane and centre Ryan Crotty return to the starting lineup.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Our big focus this week has been about continual improvement, growing ourselves as a team, growing our game and how we want to play it, and how we want to play against different opposition.

Sunday to Friday gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves individually and collectively and get better as a team. We need the games we are getting at the moment, we’ve had a bit of adversity, and that will only make us better.”

Hansen said South Africa would be a dangerous beast this weekend.

“They scrummage well, they attack well with the ball and their defence is getting better. So that’s basically the game. We know they’re a tough opponent – they’re always a tough opponent. There’s a long-standing history and rivalry between our two teams. We enjoy playing them, they play hard and it’s always competitive. But afterwards they’re always keen to catch up for a chat and a beer.”

The All Blacks 23 (with Test caps in brackets) is:

1. Kane Hames (2)

2. Dane Coles (51)

3. Nepo Laulala (6)

4. Brodie Retallick (67)

5. Samuel Whitelock (90)

6. Liam Squire (11)

7. Sam Cane (47)

8. Kieran Read (103) – Captain

9. Aaron Smith (64)

10. Beauden Barrett (56)

11. Rieko Ioane (6)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (39)

13. Ryan Crotty (29)

14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (9)

15. Damian McKenzie (4)

16. Codie Taylor (22)

17. Wyatt Crockett (64)

18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (7)

19. Scott Barrett (10)

20. Ardie Savea (19)

21. TJ Perenara (36)

22. Lima Sopoaga (10)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (16)

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