All Blacks put faith in Taylor

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 17:22
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Tom Taylor will make his All Black debut at flyhalf against Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington on Saturday

Tom Taylor will make his All Black debut at flyhalf against Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in the Rugby Championship in Wellington on Saturday

The starting XV features two injury-enforced changes from the team that started last week's Bledisloe Cup Test, with lock Brodie Retallick coming in for Luke Romano and Taylor slotting in at No.10 for Aaron Cruden.

Veteran prop Tony Woodcock will celebrate a personal milestone as he makes his 100th Test appearance in the No.1 jersey.

In the reserves, hooker Dane Coles comes back into the matchday 23, as does fit-again prop Wyatt Crockett, while Jeremy Thrush comes onto the bench as lock cover.

Colin Slade returns to the All Blacks for the first time since 2011, replacing the injured Beauden Barrett.  With Taylor and Ben Smith able to cover the midfield, back three specialist Charles Piutau has been brought in to replace Ryan Crotty as outside back cover.

All Black head coach Steve Hansen said: "We want to firstly congratulate Tom on his selection in the starting XV.  He is mentally tough and plays the game with a lot of confidence and maturity.  

“These factors, along with his assured goal-kicking under pressure, has made this an easy selection. We have every faith that he will handle the occasion with aplomb.

"We also want to congratulate "Woody" [Tony Woodcock] on what will be his 100th Test.  He is a hugely respected player within the group who always puts the team first.  It has been business as usual for him and the team this week, but we will enjoy acknowledging his achievement with him after the game."

Hansen believes the Wallabies will potentially be a more dangerous opponent this weekend, after their 29-47 loss in Sydney.

"They will be hurting after that Test and will throw everything at us. They will be looking to play with more accuracy and intensity so, therefore, we will need to meet - or better that - with a higher level of execution right across the board, if we are to be successful."

Meanwhile, All Black wider squad players Frank Halai (Counties Manukau), Joe Moody (Canterbury) and Brad Shields (Wellington) have been released this week to play in Week Two of the ITM Cup if required.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Charles Piutau.

Date: Saturday, August 24
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)