9 Sep 2010

A couple of changes for the All Blacks?

7:01 am on 9 September 2010

The All Blacks are likely to make changes for Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup clash with the Wallabies in Sydney, but respect for the opposition is likely to limit the number of changes.

Despite a 9-match winning streak over the Australians, the New Zealanders say they expect the clash to be the toughest they've faced this year.

With the Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations trophy already in their safe keeping, the visitors appear set to give two of their most promising players starting roles.

Training line-ups suggest Victor Vito and Israel Dagg may come in at the expense of flanker Jerome Kaino and winger Joe Rokocoko, while youngster Aaron Cruden is to replace injured playmaker Dan Carter.

But All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith says the dynamic Wallabies attack which opened up healthy early leads in their last two Tests in South Africa has to be recognised and nullified by them.

Smith says the Wallabies attack offers a much tougher proposition for their defence than any other challenge they've had this year.

Smith concedes part of that increased attacking threat is undoubtedly linked to the return of boom five-eighth Quade Cooper from a two-match suspension which saw the Queensland playmaker miss both Bledisloe encounters earlier this year.

The All Black team will be named this afternoon.