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Rugby-Jordan returns for All Blacks in Rugby Championship opener

WELLINGTON : New Zealand coach Ian Foster has rejigged his backline to bring Will Jordan in on the right wing in the only personnel change to his starting line-up for Saturday's Rugby Championship opener against Australia at Eden Park.

The return of the prolific try-scorer, who sat out last week's 33-25 Bledisloe Cup win over the Wallabies because of a hamstring strain, means a switch to the left wing for Sevu Reece and a return to the centres for Rieko Ioane.

Midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown drops out of the matchday squad with TJ Perenara coming in as back-up scrumhalf in place of Brad Weber in the only change to the replacement backs for the second of two successive tests at Eden Park in Auckland.

The starting forward pack is unchanged from last week's match, and hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho retains his spot on the bench after being called in last week as a late replacement for Dane Coles, who had a calf problem.

Lock Scott Barrett was another late withdrawal last week due to illness, but he was named on a bench also featuring his brothers Beauden and Jordie, who will provide backline cover.

The match doubles as the second test in the Bledisloe Cup series with Australia needing to snap their 35-year victory drought against the All Blacks at Eden Park to keep alive their hopes of winning the symbol of trans-Tasman Sea supremacy.

"We're all excited to be returning to Eden Park for the second Bledisloe Cup test," All Blacks coach Foster said in a statement.

"We know that Australia will be disappointed with (last week's) result and will lift. It's a do or die game for them."

Team: 15-Damien McKenzie, 14-Will Jordan, 13-Rieko Ioane, 12-David Havili, 11-Sevu Reece, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Dalton Papalii, 6-Akira Ioane, 5-Sam Whitelock (captain), 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-George Bower

Replacements: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18-Angus Ta'avao, 19-Scott Barrett, 20-Luke Jacobson, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Beauden Barrett, 23-Jordie Barrett.

(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: Reuters


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