6 Oct 2016

Rookie centre rewarded as Todd gets the nod

5:02 pm on 6 October 2016

The All Blacks rookie Anton Lienert-Brown has been rewarded for his strong performance against Argentina with a second consecutive start at centre.

Anton Lienart-Brown appears to have moved ahead of Malaki Fekitoa in the All Blacks midfield pecking order.

Anton Lienart-Brown appears to have moved ahead of Malaki Fekitoa in the All Blacks midfield pecking order. Photo: Photosport

Flanker Matt Todd gets just his fifth test cap and just his second start after being named at openside with Ardie Savea dropping to the bench, in one of several changes to the forwards for Sunday morning's match against the Springboks in Durban.

Matt Todd will start at openside flanker against the Springboks.

Matt Todd will start at openside flanker against the Springboks. Photo: Photosport

Lock Sam Whitelock moves from the bench to the starting XV, replacing Patrick Tuipulotu.

Loose forward Jerome Kaino is back in at blindside flanker, with Liam Squire moving to the reserves.

Charlie Faumuina replaces Ofa Tu'ungafasi as one of the replacement props.

Lienert-Brown will continue his combination with second-five Ryan Crotty while TJ Perenara gets his second straight start at halfback following Aaron Smith's suspension for breaching team standards.

Smith was stood down for the match after being seen entering a toilet cubicle with a female friend at Christchurch Airport the day after the All Blacks win over South Africa last month.

Waisake Naholo returns to the starting XV replacing Julian Savea on the left wing.

Waisake Naholo scores his first try.

Waisake Naholo scores a try. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Midfielder George Moala is the only other backs change in the matchday 23, he's replaced fullback Damian McKenzie on the bench.

George Moala.

George Moala. Photo: Photosport

McKenzie, who debuted last week in Buenos Aires, drops out of the side.

Coach Steve Hansen says this weekend's match provides an ideal opportunity to rotate the squad.

"The selectors believe we have picked a strong combination for this Test. We've been able to bring fresh players back into the group which is vital at this time of the year and allows us to continue to grow some depth.

"We are especially looking forward to this game as any Test match against South Africa is seen as one of the matches of the season. We're expecting to be facing a very confident South African team after their win over Australia, and a torrid battle against our traditional foe. We're expecting them to throw the kitchen sink at us," Hansen said.

"We've had a well-planned preparation this week, with the aim of ensuring that we have a full tank come Saturday, and also clarity in our game so that we can bring our own physicality and intensity to the contest."

The All Blacks top tight five has been named for the Springbok clash.

The All Blacks and South Africa have played each other 92 times, with 54 wins to the All Blacks, 35 to South Africa and three draws.

The most recent match was the 41-13 Rugby Championship win to the All Blacks in Christchurch last month.

Durban hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the All Blacks throughout history: they have played there eight times, most recently in 2009, with a record of five losses and three wins.

Five of the six previous meetings at Kings Park have been decided by fewer than 10 points.

All Blacks team for Durban Test against South Africa:

The matchday 23 is (with Test caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (18)

2. Dane Coles (44)

3. Owen Franks (85)

4. Brodie Retallick (55)

5. Samuel Whitelock (80)

6. Jerome Kaino (72)

7. Matt Todd (4)

8. Kieran Read - capt (92)

9. TJ Perenara (24)

10. Beauden Barrett (44)

11. Waisake Naholo (7)

12. Ryan Crotty (22)

13. Anton Lienert-Brown (4)

14. Israel Dagg (56)

15. Ben Smith (56)

16. Codie Taylor (9)

17. Wyatt Crockett (53)

18. Charlie Faumuina (40)

19. Liam Squire (4)

20. Ardie Savea (7)

21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (22)

22. Lima Sopoaga (4)

23. George Moala (2)