All Blacks coach Graham Henry has named an unchanged starting team to tackle the Springboks in Cape Town this weekend with the only change coming in the reserves where Isaia Toeava gets a callup.
RugbyHeaven NZ reports that Toeava replaces Anthony Tuitavake from the 22 who thumped the Wallabies 39-10 at Eden Park, a result that has got the All Blacks back in the Tri-Nations title race.
Toeava hasn’t played test rugby since last year’s World Cup and was called into the squad as a replacement for the injured Leon MacDonald.
His ability to cover a number of positions, most importantly fullback, has earned him a chance at Newlands.
Henry has made constant changes to his teams all year but this latest show of solidity is reward for a fine performance in their last effort in the Bledisloe Cup win over Australia.
But the All Blacks team is significantly different to the side that lost their last encounter with the Springboks 28-30 at Dunedin on July 12.
It looks considerably stronger.
Captain Richie McCaw is back at the helm meaning Adam Thomson, who started at Carisbrook, is on the bench.
Brad Thorn missed the last clash with the Boks through suspension. He is starting this weekend as is tighthead prop Greg Somerville, meaning a significantly stronger All Blacks scrum.
Andy Ellis was at halfback in Dunedin but Jimmy Cowan holds the halfback’s jersey after his heroics at Eden Park and Richard Kahui, who started at centre in the last test against the Boks, is kept on the wing where he performed well against Australia.
That sees the preferred midfield combination of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith retained.
South Africa name their side later today.
NEW ZEALAND: 15 Mils Muliania, 14 Richard Kahui, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 John Afoa, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Adam Thompson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Isaia Toeava.