19 Oct 2017

Sopoaga in for Barrett

7:22 am on 19 October 2017

The Highlanders first five Lima Sopoaga will start for the All Blacks in Saturday night's third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Beauden Barrett was ruled out of contention because of concussion symptoms.

Lima Sopoaga scores a try.

Lima Sopoaga scores a try. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sopoaga's only previous test start was on debut against South Africa in July, 2015 and he has since made 11 other appearances off the bench.

The 25-year-old had been expected to start the All Blacks' match against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sept. 30 while Barrett was rested, but remained in New Zealand to attend the birth of his first child.

The team features four changes from the matchday 23 which played the last Test against South Africa and they are all in the backs.

Sopoaga for Barrett, Waisake Naholo goes on to the right wing for the injured Nehe Milner-Skudder, TJ Perenara is reserve halfback, with Anton Lienert-Brown coming into the 23 to provide additional back cover.

Meanwhile, Sam Cane will play his 50th Test in an All Blacks career which started five years ago in June 2012 when he made his Test debut against Ireland.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said this weekend had all the makings of another great Test match.

"Both teams have their own goals and expectations. From Australia's point of view, they'll be desperate to win as they haven't done so for some time. For us, our goal is to never be satisfied at where we're at, and that means it's greater than just the outcome. It's about how we play, individually and collectively as a unit. We're always striving to get better every game and this week is no different.

"As always, to do that, our preparation has to be spot on and bone deep. It's an individual focus for each player. The job of the team management is to facilitate a training week which provides them with clarity and the right amount of intensity so that they can arrive on Saturday ready to hum.

"It'll be another great opportunity for this young team to show what they've learnt throughout the year and playing at Suncorp Stadium will be another fantastic learning experience for them all. It's a great ground with a lot of tradition and there'll be huge support for the All Blacks, which we're looking forward to."

Key notes

* The All Blacks have played Australia 160 times with 111 wins to the All Blacks, 42 to the Wallabies and seven draws. They've played each other six times at Suncorp Stadium, with the most recent match a hard-fought 29-28 win to the All Blacks in 2014.

* Kieran Read will make his 100th All Black start in his 107th Test (and 32nd as Captain) while Sam Whitelock will make his 75th Test start - equalling Ian Jones' record of 75 starts as a lock.

* The All Blacks have scored 1995 tries in the 562 Test matches in their history so 2,000 is on the horizon.

* The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup (played between New Zealand and Australia) since 2003.

Third Bledisloe Cup Test

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

1. Kane Hames (5)

2. Dane Coles (54)

3. Nepo Laulala (9)

4. Samuel Whitelock (92)

5. Scott Barrett (13)

6. Liam Squire (12)

7. Sam Cane (49)

8. Kieran Read (106) - Captain

9. Aaron Smith (67)

10. Lima Sopoaga (12)

11. Rieko Ioane (9)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (42)

13. Ryan Crotty (31)

14. Waisake Naholo (14)

15. Damian McKenzie (8)

16. Codie Taylor (25)

17. Wyatt Crockett (67)

18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (10)

19. Patrick Tuipulotu (14)

20. Matt Todd (10)

21. TJ Perenara (38)

22. Anton Lienert-Brown (18)

23. David Havili (2)