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Hansen rings the changes for Italy clash

Steve Hansen has made 11 changes to the New Zealand side to face Italy on Saturday but there is no place for Richie Mo’unga.

Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, captain Kieran Read and Ardie Savea are the only players who started the defeat to Ireland last weekend to keep their places.

Fly-half Mo’unga will once again be among the replacements at Stadio Olimpico as Hansen sticks with McKenzie and Barrett to pull the strings as playmakers.

TJ Perenara replaces Aaron Smith at scrum-half, while Dane Coles gets a start in the front row and props Ofa Tuungafasi and Nepo Laulala also get the nod.

Ngani Laumape and Anton Lienert-Brown will combine in midfield, with Jordie Barrett on the right wing and Waisake Naholo on the left in Rome.

Hansen, whose side were beaten 16-9 in Dublin, said: “We’ve got an excited group of players who are keen to make the most of their opportunity and represent the jersey, themselves and their country with a strong performance on Saturday.

“The group is aware that this is our last week together and they’re determined to really prepare well, play well and enjoy every moment of the week.

“After two big Tests, it’s been necessary to make some changes and those guys who have come in have provided a real energy and enthusiasm to our week’s preparation.”

 

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Waisake Naholo, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Scott Barrett, Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, Kieran Read (captain).

Replacements: Nathan Harris, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papalii, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Richie Mo’unga, Rieko Ioane.

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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