Rugby Championship New Zealand pick Ardie Savea to face South Africa

Ardie Savea has named in the New Zealand side to face South Africa in the Rugby Championship at AMI Stadium on Saturday after Sam Cane was ruled out.

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Ardie Savea will make his first start for New Zealand when the world champions face South Africa in the Rugby Championship at AMI Stadium on Saturday after Sam Cane was ruled out due to injury.

Flanker Cane suffered a hamstring injury in the drubbing of Argentina last weekend, so Savea gets his chance at number seven for the clash in Christchurch.

Loose forward Matt Todd has been named among the replacements, while Lima Sopoaga also comes into the 23 in the absence of Aaron Cruden (groin).

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: "We're really looking forward to Saturday's encounter, as South Africa is one of our traditional foes. We have built up a great relationship over the last few years and respect the South Africans immensely.

"We know they'll be hurting and desperate to get a result after their loss [to Australia] on the weekend. Therefore, our personal preparation this week will have to be at the highest level - bone deep with real clarity.

"We've worked hard this week on improving in the areas we felt weren't good enough last weekend. We're confident that those areas have been addressed and our performance will be improved.

"Whilst we have been reasonably happy with our three games to date in the Investec Rugby Championship, we are always striving for improvement and with South Africa having their backs to the wall, we know nothing but our best will be good enough. Accuracy with intensity will be paramount."


New Zealand XV in full: Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Ardie Savea, Kieran Read.

Replacements: James Parsons, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Liener-Brown.

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