Lienert-Brown handed All Blacks debut


Anton Lienert-Brown will make his New Zealand debut in Wellington on Saturday as the All Blacks look to wrap up the Bledisloe Cup with another Rugby Championship win against Australia.

The 21-year-old comes into Steve Hansen's starting XV in place of the injured Ryan Crotty and is one of four changes made from last weekend's comprehensive 42-8 triumph over the Wallabies.

Lienert-Brown is joined in the starting line-up by the fit again front-row duo of Joe Moody and Dane Coles, while Julian Savea returns on the left wing.

"Firstly, we'd like to congratulate Anton on his Test selection," said Hansen.

"He had a very good Super [Rugby] season with strong performances throughout and we expect him to take the step up.

"We're really looking forward to seeing him play in the international arena. It'll be a special night for Anton on Saturday and he and his family can be proud of what he has achieved."

Hansen's side cruised to victory on the opening round of the Rugby Championship but Hansen expects a much tougher challenge in the second game.

"This Test match will tell us a lot about ourselves and Australia," he added.

"There's no doubt that one of the hardest things to do in sport is to back up a big performance with another big performance.

"It's totally a mental thing, so that is something we've been working really hard on this week, getting our feet back on the ground and our attitudes right for what is going to be a really physical and demanding Test.

"As always, the expectation we have placed on ourselves is to improve in everything we do.

 "Australia are a proud side and will not have been happy with their performance last week.

"As a result, we're expecting them to throw everything they've got at us. This should lead to a very exciting, physical and high-intensity Test match with the Bledisloe Cup being in the balance."