INTERNATIONAL

All Blacks vs Fiji: Lienert-Brown, Ardie Savea set for 50th test, Fiji make changes

Anton Lienert-Brown and Ardie Savea will play their 50th Tests as All Blacks take on Fiji in the third match of the Steinlager Series at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday 17 July.

Savea will start at openside flanker and Lienert-Brown is in the 13 jersey. The starting front row is unchanged from last week’s 57-23 win over Fiji, with loosehead prop George Bower, hooker Codie Taylor and tighthead Nepo Laulala again supported by prop Ethan de Groot and hooker Dane Coles from the bench, with prop Angus Ta’avao also coming into the reserves.

Lock Samuel Whitelock returns to captain the side, starting alongside Scott Barrett in the second row, with Brodie Retallick continuing his return to international rugby via the bench.

In the loose forwards, alongside Savea, Akira Ioane gets his second start in the Steinlager Series in the six jersey, with Luke Jacobson also getting his second start at number eight. Shannon Frizell is loose forward cover in the 20 jersey.

In the backs, Aaron Smith retains his starting spot at halfback, inside Richie Mo’unga at ten. David Havili is again at 12, inside Lienert-Brown, after his first Test start there last week. In the outsides, Sevu Reece moves to the left wing while Will Jordan comes off the bench onto the right wing and Damian McKenzie is at fullback. Halfback Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane are the back reserves.

For Fiji, Leone Nakarawa has been given more responsibility as he will lead the Flying Fijians against the All Blacks in their final test match on Saturday in Hamilton.
 
Nakarawa replaces Levani Botia for the captaincy role after the hard-hitting centre was ruled out due to a knee injury earlier this week. It will also be a special moment for France-based Eneriko Buliruarua who makes the run-on side after being named on the bench for the first test match.
 
Buliruarua starts at the inside centre and partners with Waisea Nayacalevu in the midfield.
 
Robust forward Peceli Yato makes his cut at number 8 relegating Albert Tuisue on the bench, the only change Cotter has made up-front. It will also be a special moment for France-based Eneriko Buliruarua who makes the run-on side after being named on the bench for the first test match.
 
Buliruarua starts at the inside centre and partners with Waisea Nayacalevu in the midfield.
 
Robust forward Peceli Yato makes his cut at number 8 relegating Albert Tuisue on the bench, the only change Cotter has made up-front.

All Blacks –  15 Damian McKenzie: 14 Will Jordan, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece; 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Akira Ioane; 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett; 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Rieko Ioane.

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