Thomson comes in to replace injured Vito


NZ SELECTION:AS EXPECTED, the All Blacks have made just one enforced change to the side which beat Ireland 42-10 last week for this Saturday’s second Test, with Adam Thomson replacing the injured Victor Vito at blindside flanker, while his place on the bench has been taken by new cap Sam Cane.

There had been speculation that Ma’a Nonu was set to start at inside centre but, clearly intent on fine-tuning what was a remarkably impressive first outing with a largely remodelled side, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said that, despite last week’s win there had still been a lot for the All Blacks to work on this week.

“Once again, for us it’s about our preparation, getting clarity early in the week and building in intensity so we can have a performance we can all be proud of on Saturday. We (the coaches) are expecting further improvements in our game due to the extra training and preparation time we have had together, along with having a game under our belt.”

“We are also expecting Ireland to improve,” added Hansen, “as they are a nation with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude so what we did last time won’t be good enough.”

Ali Williams will play his 75th Test if he comes off the bench and will be just four Test appearances behind the most capped All Blacks lock of all time, Ian Jones. Tony Woodcock will make his 76th start at prop (in his 84th Test) putting him third on the all-time world list of most Test match starts in the position, behind Englands Jason Leonard (104) and Irelands John Hayes (100).

Commenting on the All Blacks return to Christchurch, Hansen said: “Its great that Test footy has returned to Christchurch and the players are looking forward to playing in front of a sell-out crowd. The team, especially those of us from Christchurch, know that people have still been doing it tough so hopefully we can give them a performance on Saturday that puts a smile on their faces.

Pat Lambie returns at fullback while prop Werner Kruger and wing Bjorn Basson come on to the bench in the only changes to South Africa’s side for the second Test against England. England, who beat the South African Barbarians 54-26 yesterday, will be forced to make at least two changes with full back Mike Brown and centre Brad Barritt ruled out.

SOUTH AFRICA (v England): P Lambie; J P Pietersen, J de Villiers, F Steyn, B Habana; M Steyn, F Hougaard; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, M Coetzee, W Alberts, P Spies. Replacements: A Strauss, W Kruger, F van der Merwe, K Daniel, R Pienaar, W Olivier, B Basson.

(v Ireland, Christchurch, Saturday, 8.35am)

15 Israel Dagg (Crusaders)

14 Zac Guildford (Crusaders)

13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes)

12 Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs),

11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes)

10 Dan Carter (Crusaders)

9 Aaron Smith (Highlanders)

1 Tony Woodcock (Blues)

2 Andrew Hore (Highlanders)

3 Owen Franks (Crusaders)

4 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs)

5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)

6 Adam Thomson (Highlanders)

7 Richie McCaw (Crusaders, capt)

8 Kieran Read (Crusaders)

Replacements: Hika Elliot (Chiefs), Ben Franks (Crusaders), Ali Williams (Blues), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Piri Weepu (Blues), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Ben Smith (Highlanders).