Sopoaga replaces injured Barrett for Bledisloe clash

Beauden Barrett has been ruled out of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia so Lima Sopoaga gets a long-awaited start and Waisake Naholo also comes into the New Zealand side.

Barrett will play no part at Suncorp Stadium due to the concussion symptoms the World Player of the Year has been suffering from since he came off in a Rugby Championship defeat of South Africa earlier this month.

Sopoaga gets his chance at fly-half in Brisbane over two years since his only other All Blacks start against South Africa.

Naholo is back on the wing in the absence of the luckless Nehe Milner-Skudder, who sustained a dislocated shoulder in the win over the Pumas.

TJ Perenara and Anton Lienert-Brown have been named among the replacements in the only other changes to the 23 made by head coach Steve Hansen.

Hansen said: "Both teams have their own goals and expectations. From Australia's point of view, they'll be desperate to win as they haven't done so [against New Zealand] for some time.

"For us, our goal is to never be satisfied at where we're at, and that means it's greater than just the outcome. It's about how we play, individually and collectively as a unit. We're always striving to get better every game and this week is no different."


New Zealand team: Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith; Kane Hames, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (captain).

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili.

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