Home General Discussions All Blacks drop Fifita, start Hames

All Blacks drop Fifita, start Hames


September 13, 2017

Kane Hames is the bolter in the All Blacks squad after being named to make his first Test start against the Springboks in Albany on Saturday.

The Chiefs loosehead prop, most recently on duty for Tasman in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup, has been used sparingly by the All Blacks since making his Test debut in 2016 and will thus earn just his third cap on Saturday.

Coach Steve Hansen made the move despite admitting that South Africa “scrummages well”, and it is possible that the timing of Hames’ call-up has got something to do with the withdrawal of incumbent Bok tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen with a broken arm suffered during last week’s 23-23 draw against Australia.

Almost as surprising, Hansen opted to drop Vaea Fifita, the star of last week’s 39-22 victory against Argentina in New Plymouth. Instead, Liam Squire returns to the No 6 jersey with Sam Cane packing down at openside, and Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are reunited in the second row.

In the backs, Aaron Smith returns to the 23 for his 65th Test with TJ Perenara on the bench, Ryan Crotty is back at centre, with Anton Lienert-Brown in the reserves, and Rieko Ioane is back on the left wing.

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Bench: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, September 16
Venue: QBE Stadium, North Harbour
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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