Loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett is the only change to the New Zealand side to face Australia on Saturday as the All Blacks seek to retain their grip on the Bledisloe Cup.
Coach Steve Hansen has picked Crockett to replace Tony Woodcock, who suffered a rib injury in the 27-19 victory over the Wallabies last Saturday in Sydney, in the only change to the match-day 22 for their second clash in the southern hemisphere’s new Rugby Championship competition.
The world champions have held the Bledisloe Cup, the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy, since 2003 and with a win at a sold out Eden Park can retain the trophy for a 10th successive year.
A third match will be played in Brisbane on October 20 outside of the Rugby Championship competition.
“Playing in front of our home crowd is always exciting for the All Blacks,” Hansen said of the Eden Park clash where they have not lost to the Wallabies since 1986. “The fans are important to us and getting the opportunity to play a home test is one we cherish.”
The All Blacks dominated Australia at the breakdown last week in Sydney and looked in control throughout, though both sides were guilty of uncharacteristic handling errors and poor decision making.
Robbie Deans’ Wallabies side have also lost two players to injury with openside flanker and captain David Pocockforced to undergo knee surgery, while tighthead prop Sekope Kepu has been ruled out after suffering a knee injury at training.
“We are expecting that Australia will take a step up in their intensity after last weekend’s loss and we will have to be ready for that challenge,” Hansen added.
Three members of the All Blacks’ squad, prop Charlie Faumuina, utility back Tamati Ellison and loose forward Adam Thomson, have been released to play in New Zealand’s provincial championship this weekend to give them some game time.
All Blacks: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ma’a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (Captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.