- Rugby league convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck earned his first All Blacks cap after being named in the reserves.
- David Havili, Will Jordan, Sam Whitelock and Nepo Laulala, who did not play in the second Test, were named in the run-on squad.
- No specialist lock on the bench with Scott Barrett dropping back to blindside wing to allow Whitelock to start and providing cover.
- Dane Coles and Akira Ioane joined the bench after being overlooked for the first two Tests.
Coach Ian Foster responded to the All Blacks’ first-ever loss to Ireland in New Zealand by bringing in a host of new faces and making six positional changes to his starting line-up to decide the series in Wellington on Saturday night.
Four newcomers have been added to the squad that will start at the Sky Stadium, with David Havili one of the most notable additions at second five-eighth. He replaces Quinn Tupae.
Foster has also changed his bench significantly and rugby league convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is set to get his first Test stud if he takes the field.
After losing to the Irish 23-12 in the second test in Dunedin last weekend, a significant turnaround in form after winning the first test 42-19 in Auckland, the All Blacks urgently need to address the flaws in their game if they are to rebuild their game . reputation.
Foster responded by naming 133-Test veteran Sam Whitelock, unavailable for the second Test due to concussion, to start at lock.
The return of Whitelock saw Scott Barrett move from the second row to the blindside role. Barrett, who started blind in the first Test, replaced Dalton Papalii.
Tight prop Nepo Laulala was named for his first appearance in the series.
Foster has also changed the make-up of his back row, with Havili starting at No.12 and Will Jordan coming in on the right wing after appearing as a substitute last weekend. Sevu Reece switches from right wing to left wing.
Hooker Dane Coles, loose forward Akira Ioane and Tuivasa-Sheck will make their first appearances off the bench in 2022.
Foster could not consider tight-lipped defender Angus Ta’avao, who was suspended for three weeks after being red-carded for a dangerous tackle on Irish center Garry Ringrose in Dunedin.
“It’s tough to lose, but the tough weeks are often the most exciting,” Foster said. “The series decider against a high-quality team is a great opportunity for our team growth.”
Addressing their discipline issues has been a major focus for the All Blacks since their arrival in Wellington.
In addition to Ta’avao’s sending off, Leicester winger Fainga’anuku – who was left out of the test – and tight end Ofa Tuungafasi were also shown yellow cards in the first half.
Both teams were penalized 14 times and Ireland also had lock James Ryan yellow carded in the first spell, but the New Zealanders paid a higher price as Ta’avaa’s dismissal meant they had to play out the rest of the match with reduced numbers.
The All Blacks, who have slipped to fourth – a new low – in the World Rugby rankings will also need to improve their accuracy at set-ups; this was an area where Ireland were able to use a lack of numbers to force turnovers or create slow ball.
The All Blacks’ passing accuracy and execution was also disappointing in Dunedin, with several promising line breaks ending in turnovers.
“It’s do or die, just like the World Cup stuff,” All Blacks captain Sam Cane said this week. “It’s a good challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”
All Blacks: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (captain), Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower. Reserves: Dane Coles, Aidan Ross, Ofa Tuungafasi, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Folau Fakatava, Richie Mo’unga, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
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