All Blacks have named their matchday squad for the second Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia set for Eden Park on Sunday 18 October.
Hooker Dane Coles heads to the starting squad swapping places with Codie Taylor. He starts up front alongside props Joe Moody and Ofa Tuungafasi. Lock Sam Whitelock is undergoing head injury assessment (HIA) protocols which makes him absent for the clash.
Tupou Vaa’i takes his slot and he will start alongside Patrick Tuipulotu while Scott Barrett has been introduced on the bench after a four-month injury layoff. Shannon Frizell, captain Sam Cane and Ardie Savea start in the back row.
Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga will hold the scrum-half and fly-half roles as Anton Lienert-Brown starts alongside Jack Goodhue in the midfield.
George Bridge is out following a pectoral injury and his absence earns Caleb Clarke a starting chance on the left-wing. Beauden Barrett who missed last weekend’s clash return to take the fullback while Damian Mckenzie has dropped to the bench. The first encounter ended 16-16.
On the selection of Vaa’i and Hodgman, Foster said: “It’s a great opportunity for Tupou. We enjoyed seeing him come off the bench last weekend, he brought a lot of energy and he has settled in well
“Alex has been impressive in the training weeks. He’s mobile and he’s been making big strides in his scrummaging, so it’s a big opportunity for him in his first Test.”
The All Blacks and Australia will be playing their 168th Test against each other. New Zealand has won 115 of those matches, Australia 44 with eight draws. The All Blacks have held The Bledisloe Cup since 2003.
All Blacks starting squad: 1. Joe Moody (47) 2. Dane Coles (70) 3. Ofa Tuungafasi (36) 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (31) 5. Tupou Vaa’i (1) 6. Shannon Frizell (10) 7. Sam Cane (69) – captain 8. Ardie Savea (45) 9. Aaron Smith (93) 10. Richie Mo’unga (18) 11. Caleb Clarke (1) 12. Jack Goodhue (14) 13. Anton Lienert-Brown (44) 14. Jordie Barrett (18) 15. Beauden Barrett (84)
Replacements: 16. Codie Taylor (51) 17. Alex Hodgman – debut 18. Nepo Laulala (27) 19. Scott Barrett (36) 20. Hoskins Sotutu (1) 21. TJ Perenara (65) 22. Rieko Ioane (30) 23. Damian McKenzie (24)