New zealand coach Steve Hansen has made a raft changes from the side that defeated England 30 – 22 at Twickenham for Sunday’s season closer against Ireland.
The enforced changes are the inclusion of Aaron Cruden, who comes into the number 10 shirt in place of Dan Carter, and Wyatt Crocket who comes into an all new front row as loosehead prop in the absence of Tony Woodcock.
In all there are seven changes. Cory Jane comes in for Charles Piutau in the second back-line switch, but it’s the five changes in the pack which Hansen must be hoping will give the All Blacks an energy boost at the tail end of an intensive season.
Lock Luke Romano comes in to partner Sam Whitelock in place of the in-form Brodie Retallick. Tighthead Owen Franks is also dropped to the bench to allow Charlie Faumuina win his 17th cap.
Villain-in-Irish-eyes Kevin Mealamu falls out of the matchday squad completely, with Dan Coles selected to back up Andrew Hore in the number two shirt.
Captain Richie McCaw and likely IRB Player of the Year Kieran Read are retained in the back row, but Liam Messam takes a seat in the stands as Steven Luatua wins the number six shirt, with openside Sam Cane in reserve.
There is one uncapped player in the 23-man squad, TJ Perenara will be hoping to become All Black number 1131 in Dublin.
New Zealand (v Ireland): I Dagg; C Jane, B Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; A Cruden, A Smith: W Crockett, A Hore, C Faumuina; L Romano, S Whitelock; S Luatua, R McCaw (Capt.) K Read.
Replacements: D Coles, B Franks, O Franks, B Retallick, S Cane, TJ Perenara, B Barrett, R Crotty.
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- Aaron Cruden
- Tony Woodcock