Finlay Christie only change to All Blacks starting lineup

Halfback Finlay Christie takes charge during the first test against England in Dunedin last...
Halfback Finlay Christie takes charge during the first test against England in Dunedin last Saturday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Halfback Finlay Christie is the only change to the All Blacks' starting 15 named for the second test against England in Auckland. 

Cortez Ratima is set to make his test debut after being named in the match-day 23. 

Christie earns the No 9 jersey after coming on as a substitute during the first test win in Dunedin last week in place of TJ Perenara, who has been ruled out of Saturday's test at Eden Park with a leg injury.

It will be Christie’s first test start since the All Blacks' 23-20 win over Australia in Dunedin in August last year. 

He will feed an otherwise unchanged backline led by first five-eighth Damian McKenzie and bookended by fullback Stephen Perofeta.

King Country-born Ratima, 23, is one of five new caps in the All Blacks squad. 

In the forwards, Samipeni Finau has been cleared to play and will start at blindside flanker with openside Dalton Papali’i and No 8 Ardie Savea once again completing the loose trio, in an otherwise unchanged pack.

All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson believed the squad was prepared and ready to win the series at Eden Park.

“Finlay has worked hard and earned his place in the starting side and it will be a proud day for Cortez and his whānau. He’s a talented young man who is ready for test footy.

“We can feel New Zealand’s support here in Auckland and we will hear it at a sold-out Eden Park. It’s a very special venue to the All Blacks, and we’re going there on Saturday to win the series against England.”

The All Blacks' winning record at Eden Park stretches back to 1994 and has included 48 wins and two draws since.

The Kiwis secured the Hillary Shield in Dunedin with a 16-15 first test win and can take the Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Series Trophy with a victory at Eden Park.

England was expected to name their side this afternoon. 

All Blacks v England

Eden Park, Auckland

Kick-off: 7:05pm on Saturday 


All Blacks (*uncapped): 1. Ethan de Groot 2. Codie Taylor 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. Scott Barrett (captain) 5, Patrick Tuipulotu, 6. Samipeni Finau 7. Dalton Papali'i 8. Ardie Savea (vice-captain) 9. Finlay Christie 10. Damian McKenzie 11. Mark Tele'a 12. Jordie Barrett 13. Rieko Ioane 14. Sevu Reece 15. Stephen Perofeta

Reserves: 16. Asafo Aumua 17. Ofa Tu'ungafasi 18. Fletcher Newell 19. Tupou Vaa'i 20. Luke Jacobson 21. Cortez Ratima* 22. Anton Lienert-Brown 23. Beauden Barrett