All Black coach Graham Henry has made two changes to the All Black tight five for the second Tri-Nations test against the Sprinboks, in Dunedin this Saturday.
In an enforced change, lock Brad Thorn has been suspended for his cowardly thuggery and will serve a lenient one match suspension. His place is taken by Blues rookie Anthony Boric, who will make his first run-on appearance for the New Zealand team. Boric made his début against England recently and has collected a pair of caps coming off the bench.
In an unforced change, John Afoa takes over the number 3 jersey from Greg Sommerville. It’s a pretty strange call, considering how Sommerville had Gürthro Steenkamp under the cosh virtually the whole match, but Afoa himself is no shrinking violet at scrumtime and has done well in a Blues front-row together with fellow All Blacks Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu. With Sommerville headed off to pastures greener (and wealthier) after the Tri-Nations, it’s possible that this selection is a sort of “mid-term refresh” for Henry.
The remainder of the team is unchanged from the one that downed the Boks by 11 points in Wellington, although Chiefs lock Kevin O’Neill comes onto the bench to take Thorn’s spot in the 22.
NEW ZEALAND: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis; 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Rodney So’oialo (capt), 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock. Reserves: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Kevin O’Neill, 19 Sione Lauaki, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Leon MacDonald.Tweet