Kaino to make 70th Test appearance in Bledisloe opener


The most capped blindside flanker of all time, Jerome Kaino will start in New Zealand's opening Rugby Championship clash against the Australia on Saturday.

Kaino will make his 70th Test appearance in Sydney as the All Blacks go head-to-head with the Wallabies, the defending Rugby Championship holders, in their Bledisloe Cup showdown

The 33-year-old has been a key member of the New Zealand set-up since debuting in 2004, helping the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup glory in 2011 and 2015.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read is also in the starting 15 for the match at ANZ Stadium, with the New Zealanders looking to continue their good run of form, having claimed a 3-0 series whitewash of Wales in June.

Beauden Barrett will start at fly-half after being preferred to Aaron Cruden, who is among the replacements.

Kane Hames - a replacement for the injured Joe Moody - is in line to make his international debut if he makes it off the bench, which would see the 27-year-old become the sixth All Blacks debutant of the year.

Dane Coles also features on the bench, after coming in late for Nathan Harris, despite rarely featuring in the Super Rugby Finals due to broken ribs.

The All Blacks have won the Bledisloe Cup every year since 2003, losing just three of the last 26 meetings against Australia.


New Zealand squad in full:

Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Waisake Naholo, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Wyatt Crockett, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Kane Hames, Charlie Faumuina, Liam Squire, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Julian Savea.