Kane Hames to make first New Zealand start against South Africa
Last Updated: 13/09/17 6:38pm
Kane Hames will make his first start for New Zealand in Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against South Africa, live on Sky Sports Action from 8am.
The Chiefs comes in for the injured Joe Moody and is one of eight changes to the team that came from behind to beat Argentina last weekend.
Aaron Smith returns at scrum-half with Ryan Crotty replacing Anton Lienert-Brown at outside centre, while Rieko Ioane is back on the wing at the expense of Israel Dagg.
Vaea Fifita drops out of the match-day 23 despite an impressive display against the Pumas as Liam Squire and Sam Cane return to the back row, with Brodie Retallick back at lock.
"Our big focus this week has been about continual improvement, growing ourselves as a team, growing our game and how we want to play it, and how we want to play against different opposition," said New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.
"Sunday to Friday gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves individually and collectively and get better as a team. We need the games we are getting at the moment, we've had a bit of adversity, and that will only make us better."
Like New Zealand, South Africa are unbeaten in their first three Rugby Championship games and Hansen is expecting a tough contest at Auckland's QBE Stadium.
"They scrummage well, they attack well with the ball and their defence is getting better," he said.
"So that's basically the game. We know they're a tough opponent - they're always a tough opponent.
"There's a long-standing history and rivalry between our two teams. We enjoy playing them, they play hard and it's always competitive. But afterwards they're always keen to catch up for a chat and a beer."
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 Kane Hames, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Liam Squire, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Kieran Read (c).
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.