Damien McKenzie chats sideline as All Blacks prepare for second test against Fiji.
All the action between the All Blacks and Fiji.
All you need to know ahead of the All Blacks’ clash against Fiji at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium on Saturday, 17 July, kick-off at 7.05pm:
Last week saw Fiji achieve their best result against the All Blacks, scoring more points and producing their closest margin.
That being said, it was still a convincing 34-point victory to the men in black who were never realistically threatened by their Pacific rivals.
This series is a showcase of talent. Fiji’s under-exposed stars get a rare double shot at taking the All Blacks, while Ian Foster and his coaching staff figure out what combination of players is ready to take on Australia in the Bledisloe Cup next month.
All Blacks coach Foster has chosen to test his veterans against Fiji this weekend amongst nine changes to last week’s side.
Ardie Savea and Anton Lienert-Brown return from injury and will both bring up 50 tests for New Zealand after missing the opening two games against Tonga and Fiji.
Lienert-Brown replaces Rieko Ioane at centre and teams up with David Havili in the midfield while Ethan Blackadder drops to the bench to make way for Savea at No 7.
Elsewhere in the forwards, a calf injury forced Dane Coles to withdraw from the match on Friday which saw Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho named in his place on the bench; while Luke Jacobson replaces Hoskins Sotutu at No 8 with Akira Ioane nabbing the No 6 jersey.
Richie Mo’unga returns to the number 10 jersey, with Beauden Barrett moving to the bench while Damian McKenzie will start at fullback despite a minor injury concern after dislocating his finger in the first test against Fiji in Dunedin.
Meanwhile, Fiji have made four changes to their starting XV with superstar lock Leone Nakarawa named as captain after regular skipper Levani Botia failed to recover from a knee injury.
France-based Eneriko Buliruarua replaces Botia at second-five while first-choice halfback Frank Lomani returns from injury at the expense of Simione Kuruvoli.
All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Luke Jacobson, Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (c), Scott Barrett, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan de Groot, Angus Ta’avao, Brodie Retallick, Shannon Frizell, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane.
Fiji: Kini Murimurivalu, Setareki Tuicuvu, Waisea Nayacalevu, Eneriko Buliruarua, Nemani Nadolo, Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani, Peceli Yato, Mesulame Kunavula, Johnny Dyer, Leone Nakarawa (c), Temo Mayanavanua, Mesake Doge, Sam Matavesi, Peni Ravai.
Reserves: Mesulame Dolokoto, Eroni Mawi, Leeroy Atalifo, Albert Tuisue, Kitione Kamikamica, Moses Sorovi, Teti Tela, Manasa Mataele.
2021: All Blacks 57, Fiji 23, Dunedin
2011: All Blacks 60, Fiji 14, Dunedin
2005: All Blacks 91, Fiji 0, Albany
2002: All Blacks 68, Fiji 18, Wellington
1997: All Blacks 71, Fiji 5, Albany
1987: All Blacks 74 Fiji 13, Christchurch
All Blacks: $1.001
Points start: -40.5 All Blacks
The Metservice is predicting a gloomy day in Hamilton on Saturday with persistent showers throughout the day creating soggy underfoot conditions. While rain is expected to ease by the time kickoff rolls around, a strong wind warning remains in place for the region.
How to catch the action
The Herald will provide live updates. You can catch live commentary of the match on Newstalk ZB, Gold AM and iHeartRadio.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 1, with coverage beginning at 6pm. If you want to watch the match online, you can stream the game live via Sky Sport Now.