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Kaino back as All Blacks make changes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/10/2016

All Blacks enforcer Jerome Kaino has been reinstated to the world champions' run-on XV for Saturday's clash with South Africa.

Blindside flanker Kaino, 33, injured his shoulder in their 41-13 mauling of the Springboks in Christchurch three weeks ago and missed last week's 36-17 win over Argentina.

The Blues skipper will make up a new-look loose forward trio for the match in Durban, with Matt Todd getting the nod over Ardie Savea at openside.

Captain Kieran Read takes up his usual position at No.8 while Liam Square, who started and was sin-binned against the Pumas, shifts to the bench.

"I got pretty excited when I was told I'd have the chance to put my name in the hat for the Springboks Test," Kaino said.

"That was the carrot I could work hard towards."

Elsewhere, head coach Steve Hansen has continued to ring in the changes as his squad looks to equal their record of 17 consecutive Test victories.

Samuel Whitelock will resume his partnership with Brodie Retallick at lock, with Patrick Tuipulotu dropping out of the squad.

Hansen said the decision to go with an extra loose forward on the bench instead of a reserve lock was a tough one.

"Samuel would've had to play, as he did against South Africa in the first Test, on the sideline if we lost one of those loosies early," Hansen said.

"We don't really want to play Ardie and Matt Todd together for too long if we can avoid it, from a lineout point of view."

First-choice halfback Aaron Smith has been stood down for one match after entering a disabled toilet with a woman at Christchurch Airport.

The Highlanders No.9 has travelled home to New Zealand after the incident was made public and has been criticised by Hansen for his actions.

TJ Perenara, who started last week's win in Buenos Aires, retains his place.

In the backs, Anton Lienert-Brown has retained the No.13 jersey over Malakai Fekitoa after grabbing a try and three assists against Los Pumas.

He will be partnered in the midfield by incumbent second-five Ryan Crotty, with Blues centre George Moala named on the bench.

Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo also comes into the side in place of the rejuvenated Julian Savea, who has been rested for the Springboks match.

Damian McKenzie has dropped out of the matchday squad after last week's debut.

Hansen said bringing fresh players into the run-on squad was critical as the year drew to a close and bodies grew tired.

The changes would also help the All Blacks build squad depth.

"We've had a well-planned preparation this week, with the aim of ensuring we have a full tank come Saturday and also clarity in our game," Hansen said.

"We're expecting to be facing a very confident South African team after their win over Australia, and a torrid battle."

ALL BLACKS: Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Waisake Naholo, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Jerome Kaino, Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody. RESERVES: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Liam Squire, Ardie Savea, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Lima Sopoaga, George Moala.

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