Kaino back, Savea brothers dropped
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: New Zealand have made four changes for their final Rugby Championship Test against South Africa on Saturday, while retaining TJ Perenara at the expense of disgraced scrumhalf Aaron Smith.
Coach Steve Hansen recalled veteran forwards Jerome Kaino and Sam Whitelock, boasting 152 caps between them, as the All Blacks seek to post 17 consecutive Test wins.
But with the Rugby Championship already wrapped up, Hansen also continued to give other players a run, replacing Ardie Savea with Matt Todd in the back row.
Giant wing Waisake Naholo, who pulled a hamstring in the opening match against Australia, returns to give Julian Savea a rest.
Smith was widely expected to return against the Springboks in Durban but was suspended over an airport toilet tryst with a mystery woman in Christchurch.
The decision means TJ Perenara remains at halfback after taking part in last week's win over Argentina, with Hansen expressing faith in Smith's understudy.
"Obviously [Smith] is a world-class player and you want to be able to play him but TJ has had three good stints there now," he said.
New Zealand had an underwhelming record of three wins from eight Tests against South Africa in Durban and Hansen said he expected a fierce Springboks' performance.
"The inconvenient facts are they go well here so we'll need to play well," he said.
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Tawera Kerr-barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 George Moala.
Date: Saturday, October 8
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT; 04.05 NZDT Sunday, October 9)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Johnny Lacey (Ireland), George Clancy (Ireland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)