Team news

Beauden Barrett starts a test at full-back for the first time in six years and for only the third time in his highly decorated career spanning 74 caps. The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year swaps the number10 jersey for 15 in an intriguing tactical switch, with Richie Mo'unga handed the playmaker duties.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has retained just three starting players from the team who opened the Rugby Championship with a less than convincing 20-16 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.

As well as Barrett, Ben Smith, who also changes position, from full-back to wing, and second-row Brodie Retallick return for the second round encounter at a sold-out Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Meanwhile, 33-year-old Sonny Bill Williams (pictured) will look to put an injury-disrupted Super Rugby campaign behind him after being chosen in midfield alongside Jack Goodhue. 

Captain Kieran Read also returns to lead the side, with the man who wore the armband in the last outing Sam Cane missing out. Sam Whitelock partners Retallick in the second row – behind an entirely new front row made up of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks.


Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has named a much-changed side from the one that defeated the Wallabies by 35-17 in Johannesburg last weekend.

Eben Etzebeth, last weekend’s Bok captain, and Pieter-Steph du Toit are the only two forwards who were retained from the win over the Wallabies, with wing Makazole Mapimpi the only backline player to keep his spot in the XV.

Willie le Roux returns at full-back while Cheslin Kolbe is drafted in on the right wing. Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am form a familiar-looking midfield pairing and they will play next to half-backs Handré Pollard and Faf de Klerk.

Duane Vermeulen captains the side for the first time and is joined in the back row by Du Toit and Kwagga Smith, with the former Blitzbok speedster set to earn his second start in the Green and Gold following his international debut last year against Wales in Washington. Franco Mostert partners Etzebeth in the second row and hooker Malcolm Marx packs down between props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.

In brief

  • This is the 98th test meeting between the sides. New Zealand lead the head-to-head 58-36 with three draws 
  • South Africa won the last meeting on New Zealand soil, 36-34 last September – their first since a 32-29 success in Hamilton in 2009
  • The All Blacks need six points to be the first to score 16,000 points in test rugby
  • Duane Vermeulen becomes the Springboks' 62nd captain

Rankings predictor

  • New Zealand will surrender top spot to Wales if lose by more than 15 points
  • New Zealand cannot improve their rating with victory over the Springboks
  • South Africa will climb above England into fourth place with a draw or victory
  • They cannot fall from fifth even if lose heavily and Australia win by a similar margin


Team news

Christian Lealiifano is the headline inclusion in the Wallabies' team, the 31-year-old fighting his way back from leukaemia to start his first test in five years. Lealiifano has been handed the playmaking role over regular 10 Bernard Foley for a must-win match at the Suncorp Stadium. Lealiifano last played for the Wallabies in 2016 and joins Will Genia, Marika Koroibete and Kurtley Beale as additions to the starting backline. Utility back James O'Connor will play his first test since 2013 if called upon from the bench. 

Prop Scott Sio is the only change to the forward pack as the 55-test veteran returns from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss last weekend’s defeat in South Africa.

Hooker Agustin Creevy is a notable absentee from Los Pumas' front row due to a shoulder injury and his place in the side is taken by Julian Montoya with uncapped rake Santiago Socini set to make his debut from the bench. Montoya's inclusion is one of five changes made by head coach Mario Ledesma who is looking to integrate his European-based players with the Jaguares players who did so well to reach the Super Rugby final.

At number eight, Facundo Isa will get his first taste of test rugby since he moved back to France in 2016 after replacing Javier Ortega Desio at the back of the scrum. The other changes see Tomas Lezana replace Marcos Kremer at openside flanker, Santiago Cordero will start on the wing instead of Matias Moroni who moves into the centres, and Joaquin Tuculet gets a run at full-back with Emiliano Boffelli left out of the squad.

In brief

  • This is the 32nd test between the sides. Australia lead the head-to-head 24-6 with one draw
  • Australia have lost just one of their last eight games against Argentina, although that defeat came on home soil last year on the Gold Coast
  • The Wallabies exacted some revenge in the return fixture after recording the biggest come-from-behind victory in tier-one test history to secure a 45-34 victory in Salta, Argentina.
  • Argentina have lost their last six tests since beating Australia 23-19 in Robina last year

Rankings predictor

  • Australia cannot improve their position with a win but will drop below Scotland with a loss
  • If they lose by more than 15 points and Fiji beat Japan by the same margin, the Wallabies will drop to 10th and be ranked below Fiji for the first time
  • Los Pumas will climb one place if they win and Fiji lose their Pacific Nations Cup encounter with Japan in Kamaishi
  • Argentina could climb as high as seventh – a position they last held in August 2017