<
>

All Blacks opt for Sotutu with Savea at home

Hoskins Sotutu will make his first start of the year when the All Blacks take on the Wallabies in their Bledisloe Cup Test in Melbourne, with coach Ian Foster naming him to replace star No.8 Ardie Savea.

New Zealand were forced to name a new-look back-row with Savea to miss Thursday night's Test due to the birth of his child, while blindside flanker Shannon Frizell is also out through injury.

Captain Sam Cane remains at openside flanker and has been joined by Sotutu in his 11th Test, while Scott Barrett has moved from lock to six for the Marvel Stadium match.

Blues backrower Sotutu's last Test was against Italy last November.

The shift of Barrett, who also started at blindside flanker in the All Blacks' first Test against Ireland, means veterans Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock will team up in the second-row.

The backline remains unchanged after New Zealand's thumping 50-point win over Argentina in Hamilton.

In the only change to the reserves, Akira Ioane has been brought in as back-row cover alongside Dalton Papali'i.

The All Blacks haven't lost the Bledisloe Cup series in 19 years, while the Rugby Championship trophy also remains up for grabs.

"We are incredibly driven to keep hold of this trophy which means so much to both countries," Foster said in a statement.

"And when you factor in how tight this year's Rugby Championship is, all signs point towards another great Test match here in Melbourne."

NEW ZEALAND: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Cane (c), Scott Barrett, Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ethan de Groot. Res: Dane Coles, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali'i, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea.