Monday 11 December 2017

All Blacks ring changes

Steve Hansen. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Steve Hansen. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire Newsdesk Newsdesk

Just like Joe Schmidt, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has made wholesale changes to his team following last week's bruising defeat to Ireland in Chicago.

Utility back Rieko Ioane and hooker Liam Coltman are poised to make their debuts off the bench against Conor O'Shea's Italy tomorrow.

Openside flanker Sam Cane will captain the side for the second time, with regular skipper Kieran Read also rested. Steve Luatua will play No 8 in Read's place, with Elliot Dixon starting at blindside flanker.

Full-back Damian McKenzie and lock Scott Barrett get their first starts.

Former World Player of the Year Brodie Retallick is on the bench after recovering from concussion.

O'Shea has picked a blend of youth and experience for his first Test on home soil.

Scrum-half Giorgio Bronzini will make his debut, while skipper Sergio Parisse reaches a record 120th cap.

Veteran hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini also comes into the side, with Australian-born Luke McLean at inside-centre.

Irish Independent

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