Mo'unga back but on bench against Boks

First five-eighth Richie Mo'unga re-joined the team in Australia this week. Photo: Getty Images
First five-eighth Richie Mo'unga re-joined the team in Australia this week. Photo: Getty Images
Richie Mo'unga will make his All Blacks return from the bench as Ian Foster named the team to face the Springboks in the final test of the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

The starting forward pack remains unchanged from the original team that was named last week, with Luke Jacobson returning to the No 8 jersey after his late withdrawal with illness last weekend.

Asafo Aumua comes in at reserve hooker and George Bower replaces Karl Tu'inukuafe on the bench.

In the backs, Brad Weber will start at halfback with TJ Perenara on the bench, while Anton Lienert-Brown returns from injury to the 13 jersey, with Rieko Ioane moving to the left wing and Sevu Reece named on the right.

George Bridge and Will Jordan, who both struggled under the Springboks' high kicks last weekend, didn't make the matchday 23.

First five-eighth Richie Mo'unga, who re-joined the team this week, is on the reserves bench alongside Damian McKenzie.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said the team was keen to finish the Rugby Championship at the Cbus Super Stadium in Gold Coast on a high.

"The energy levels are high in the team, it's our fifth test in a row, and we're highly motivated ahead of another big test against South Africa and the last test of the Championship.

"We've achieved the Championship title, which we're really proud to have achieved. The fact that we now have the chance to achieve a potential Grand Slam against our Southern Hemisphere opponents is pretty special. I'm excited by that and it has already given this weekend's test an edge."

Foster said the All Blacks were looking for improvement in their game across the board this week.

"We learnt some lessons last week. We didn't look after the ball as well as we could have and some of our work at the ruck wasn't as good as we wanted. We have to lift our performance in that area and the team is keen to get that right this weekend."

The game kicks off at 11.05pm (NZ time) on Saturday.

ALL BLACKS 

Team: 15-Jordie Barrett, 14-Sevu Reece, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 12-David Havili, 11-Rieko Ioane, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-Brad Weber, 8-Luke Jacobson, 7-Ardie Savea, 6-Akira Ioane, 5-Scott Barrett, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody

Replacements: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17-George Bower, 18-Ofa Tuungafasi, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Ethan Blackadder, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Richie Mo'unga, 23-Damian McKenzie

SPRINGBOKS 

Team: 15-Willie le Roux, 14-Sbu Nkosi, 13-Lukhanyo Am, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Makazole Mapimpi, 10-Handré Pollard, 9-Faf de Klerk, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Kwagga Smith, 6-Siya Kolisi (captain), 5-Lood de Jager, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Trevor Nyakane, 2-Bongi Mbonambi, 1-Ox Nche

Replacements: 16-Malcolm Marx, 17-Steven Kitshoff, 18-Vincent Koch, 19-Franco Mostert, 20-Jasper Wiese, 21-Herschel Jantjies, 22-Elton Jantjies, 23-Frans Steyn. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

 

 

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