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Changes to pack with Sotutu and Retallick called up to rattle Wallabies

The All Blacks have changed up their pack for the Bledisloe Cup showdown with Australia on Thursday night in Melbourne as they surprisingly try to win back-to-back games for the first time this year.

New Zealand’s selection panel of coach Ian Foster, Joe Schmidt and Jason Ryan have announced the match-day 23 for the Marvel Stadium clash with Sam Cane leading a side which will field a new-look pack.

Scott Barrett has been selected at blindside flanker, while Hoskins Sotutu has been brought in at No.8 for what will be his 11th Test and first of the 2022 season.

Barrett’s move to the side of the scrum sees 96-Test lock Brodie Retallick brought back into the run-on side where he will rejoin long-time second row partner Samuel Whitelock.

The backline remains unchanged after the recent win over Argentina in Hamilton.

In the only change to the reserves, Akira Ioane has been brought in to provide cover alongside fellow specialist loose forward Dalton Papali’i. If called upon, Dane Coles will play his 84th Test, surpassing Andrew Hore (83) as the third most-capped Test hooker in All Blacks history, behind Sean Fitzpatrick (92) and Keven Mealamu (132).

“We can’t wait to kick off what should be a fantastic Rugby Championship Test, which doubles as the opening Bledisloe Cup clash of the year,” said Foster. “We are incredibly driven to keep hold of this trophy which means so much to both countries.

“And when you factor in how tight this year’s Rugby Championship is, all signs point towards another great Test match here in Melbourne.”

Thursday will be just the fifth time the All Blacks have played against Australia in Melbourne – the last one taking place in 2010.

This series also marks 90 years since the Bledisloe Cup was first presented in 1932.

All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets):

1.Ethan de Groot (8)

2.Samisoni Taukei’aho (15)

3.Tyrel Lomax (18)

4.Brodie Retallick (96)

5.Samuel Whitelock (138)

6.Scott Barrett (54)

7.Sam Cane © (84)

8.Hoskins Sotutu (10)

9.Aaron Smith (109)

10.Richie Mo’unga (39)

11.Caleb Clarke (9)

12.David Havili (20)

13.Rieko Ioane (54)

14.Will Jordan (19)

15.Jordie Barrett (43)

16.Dane Coles (83)

17.George Bower (18)

18.Fletcher Newell (3)

19.Akira Ioane (17)

20.Dalton Papali’i (16)

21.Finlay Christie (10)

22.Beauden Barrett (107)

23.Quinn Tupaea (13)

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