13 Aug 2015

Vito to help at the breakdown

10:41 am on 13 August 2015

The All Black selectors have called in some reinforcements for the breakdown with Victor Vito named to start at No.6 in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup decider against Australia at Eden Park.

All Black Victor Vito in action.

All Black Victor Vito in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Vito is part of three changes to the starting XV.

Vito has replaced Jerome Kaino on the blindside in an effort to help Richie McCaw at the breakdown after they were outplayed their by David Pocock and Michael Hooper last week.

It'll also give Vito a chance to cement his place in the World Cup squad.

Sam Whitelock and Ma'a Nonu will also start this weekend.

Coach Steve Hansen has also included two loosies in the reserves in Kaino and Sam Cane, but there is no lock on the bench.

Nehe Milner-Skudder retains his place on the right wing, while there is no place for Beauden Barrett on the bench with TJ Perenara, Colin Slade and Malakai Fekitoa the back reserves.

All Blacks' second-five Ma'a Nonu in action during the Rugby Championship.

All Blacks' second-five Ma'a Nonu in action during the Rugby Championship. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Second five Nonu returns for the injured Sonny Bill Williams, lock Sam Whitelock comes in off the bench for the dropped Luke Romano, while Vito comes in for Kaino, who moves to the bench.

Joining Kaino on a slightly rejigged reserves bench is hooker Keven Mealamu and prop Wyatt Crockett, in for Codie Taylor and Ben Franks respectively, while Colin Slade comes in for Barrett in the only back reserves change.

The All Blacks side will again be captained by All Blacks captain McCaw, who will break the world record for most Test matches this weekend in his 142nd Test.

"This game was one of the best challenges they could have," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"We pride ourselves on our performance and last week's wasn't good enough, so we have been working hard at all areas of our game. We know we have to be smarter, more accurate and bring more intensity right across the park."

Hansen said it was also their last Test match in New Zealand for the year, so it was important that they deliver a performance that they can be proud of in front of home fans.

"I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and the All Blacks to publicly acknowledge Richie's achievement in becoming the most capped Test player in the history of the game. His performances week in, week out in the black jersey have been nothing short of extraordinary."

Key points of interest

  • The All Blacks and Australia have played each other 153 times, with the All Blacks winning 104 times and the Wallabies 42, with seven draws.
  • Daniel Carter will start his 88th Test match at first five eighths to equal the world record holder, Steven Jones of Wales. Carter also surpassed the 1,500 Test points milestone last weekend.
  • In last weekend's Test, Nehe Milner-Skudder became the first All Black to score two tries on a Test debut against Australia since Bruce Watt in 1962.
  • The All Blacks team has an average age of 27.
  • Meanwhile, the following All Blacks squad members have been released to play for their respective provincial unions in the opening round of the ITM Cup this weekend: Cory Jane and James Broadhurst (for Wellington vs Taranaki on Saturday); and Matt Todd and Patrick Osborne (for Canterbury vs Otago).

    All Blacks (with Test caps in brackets):

    Starting XV:

    1. Tony Woodcock (114)

    2. Dane Coles (29)

    3. Owen Franks (71)

    4. Brodie Retallick (20)

    5. Samuel Whitelock (65)

    6. Victor Vito (27)

    7. Richie McCaw - captain (141)

    8. Kieran Read (76)

    9. Aaron Smith (40)

    10. Daniel Carter (105)

    11. Julian Savea (34)

    12. Ma'a Nonu (96)

    13. Conrad Smith (87)

    14. Nehe Milner-Skudder (1)

    15. Ben Smith (40)


    16. Keven Mealamu (125)

    17. Wyatt Crockett (39)

    18. Nepo Laulala (3)

    19. Jerome Kaino (59)

    20. Sam Cane (23)

    21. TJ Perenara (14)

    22. Colin Slade (19)

    23. Malakai Fekitoa (10)

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