New Zealand ring the changes for Wallabies test

SYDNEY : New Zealand will field an experimental side for their test against Australia on Saturday after Ian Foster made 13 changes to his starting team to give fringe players the chance to play themselves into contention for the World Cup.

The All Blacks extended their two decades of domination of the Bledisloe Cup and won another Rugby Championship with their 38-7 win over Australia in Melbourne last week.

Foster, who will name his World Cup squad on Monday, included test debutants Shaun Stevenson and Samipeni Finau in his starting lineup for the test in Dunedin with another uncapped player, Dallas McLeod, on the bench.

Outside back Stevenson and blindside flanker Finau were two of the form players in this year’s Super Rugby Pacific for the Waikato Chiefs, whose flyhalf Damian McKenzie will get another runout in the number 10 shirt on Saturday.

Only number eight Ardie Savea and lock Brodie Retallick retain their starting spots, the latter now joined by Sam Whitelock in an imposing second row.

Sam Cane returns from injury to skipper the team from the openside flank after Savea led the All Blacks in Melbourne last week.

The electric Will Jordan, who has played on the wing in New Zealand’s three wins so far this year, gets a run at fullback, the position many believe is his best.

“This test is special for us as we finish this stage of our preparation for later in the year,” Foster said in a news release.CHA

“It is our last chance to play in front of our fans and, even with some changes, it is a big opportunity for us to take another step forward as a team. We can’t wait.”

New Zealand begin their bid for a fourth World Cup title against hosts France in Paris on Sept. 8.

Team: 15-Will Jordan, 14-Shaun Stevenson, 13-Braydon Ennor, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 11-Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10-Damian McKenzie, 9-Finlay Christie, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Sam Cane, 6-Samipeni Finau, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1-Tamaiti Williams

Replacements: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Tupou Vaa’i, 20-Luke Jacobson, 21-Aaron Smith, 22-Richie Mo’unga, 23-Dallas McLeod.

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