24 Aug 2017

Owen Franks out of Test

12:18 pm on 24 August 2017

Injury has forced All Blacks prop Owen Franks out of Saturday's Test against Australia in Dunedin.

All Black prop Owen Franks.

All Black prop Owen Franks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Franks was named in the team this morning, but coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that achilles problems have forced him out of the game.

He's been replaced by Chiefs prop Nepo Laulala, while the Hurricanes front-rower Jeff Toomaga-Allen has been called into the squad.

Hansen says Franks has been battling the Achilles issues all season.

He says Franks may be out for a while, so they'll monitor the situation and take it one step at a time.

29 year old Franks has played 95 Tests for the All Blacks.

New Zealand won the opening Test against Australia by 54 points to 34 and can secure the Bledisloe Cup for another season with victory in Dunedin on Saturday night.

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles.

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hooker Dane Coles returns to the starting line-up with Codie Taylor dropping to the reserves.

It ends a frustrating five months for Coles, who has battled injuries and concussion.

Coles missed the Sydney win as a precaution after picking up another head knock in a troubled season for the Hurricanes captain.

The 30-year-old last played a test nine months ago and since mid-March has played just 90 minutes in the Super Rugby playoffs for the Hurricanes due to lingering concussion symptoms.

It will be Coles' 50th test.

There are two changes in the reserves with prop Kane Hames on the bench replacing Wyatt Crockett, while Scott Barrett is the reserve lock, in for Luke Romano, who has a minor foot niggle.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said the team had a "great week's preparation" in Dunedin.

"Whilst we were very happy with the way we played for periods of the game in the first test, there were also moments where we weren't so crash hot. However, this is a new week and we're well aware that we'll have to be better in all areas of our game, and we've concentrated on those areas we want to improve.

"Once again, a good start will be important."

Hansen said the team was looking forward to playing at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"Playing under the roof in Dunedin means we should see a high-speed game, which should suit both teams and create an entertaining match that fans won't want to miss."

Lock Sam Whitelock will play his 90th test this weekend. The 28-year-old is the most capped All Blacks lock of all time.

The All Blacks have played Australia 159 times with 110 wins to the All Blacks, 42 to the Wallabies and seven draws.

Match day 23 (test caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (29)

2. Dane Coles (49)

3. Nepo Laulala (4)

4. Brodie Retallick (65)

5. Samuel Whitelock (89)

6. Liam Squire (10)

7. Sam Cane (45)

8. Kieran Read (101) - Captain

9. Aaron Smith (63)

10. Beauden Barrett (54)

11. Rieko Ioane (6)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (37)

13. Ryan Crotty (28)

14. Ben Smith (63)

15. Damian McKenzie (3)

16. Codie Taylor (20)

17. Kane Hames (1)

18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (5)

19. Scott Barrett (8)

20. Ardie Savea (17)

21. TJ Perenara (34)

22. Lima Sopoaga (8)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (14)