New Zealand make five changes for South Africa's Rugby Championship visit
New Zealand have made five changes for Saturday's crucial Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Auckland.
Last Updated: 11/09/13 9:53pm
Sam Cane will fill in for the injured captain Richie McCaw while the All Blacks' least experienced hooker Dane Coles starts against a notoriously powerful Springboks pack.
Liam Messam takes over as the blindside flanker and regular first-choice prop Owen Franks returns from injury.
The only change in the backs sees the return of a fit again Ma'a Nonu to face Boks captain Jean de Villiers.
Coles, who has come off the bench in his last three Tests, gets the nod at hooker over World Cup veteran Andrew Hore with Keven Mealamu named as the replacement.
Messam suffered a calf injury before the Rugby Championship opener against Australia, opening the door for novice Steven Luatua whose blockbusting performance then shut Messam out of the next two Tests.
But with McCaw sidelined, and the eight-Test Coles slotting into the front row, coach Steve Hansen has returned to Messam for the experience he can provide.
"We have a massive amount of respect for South Africa and have prepared accordingly," Hansen said of his rearranged side. The physical challenge will be huge, as it always is, and the team that executes their game with the greatest effectiveness, clarity and intensity will be the one that comes out on top.
"There were some tough decisions to be made, none more so than between Liam and Steven. But in the end we have gone for Liam's extra experience and physicality."
In the absence of the talismanic McCaw, who could be out for up to five weeks after damaging his left knee against Argentina last week, Kieran Read will take over as captain.
The All Blacks will be attempting to maintain their 30-Test unbeaten run at Eden Park, dating back to 1994.
The Springboks last won at the ground in 1937 and Hansen added: "The test match is shaping up to be a massive occasion with the two top-ranked sides in the world coming together.
"Both teams are in good form and will bring their respective strengths to the contest.
The Springboks named the same 23 that thrashed Australia 38-12 last week.
New Zealand: Dagg, B Smith, C Smith, Nonu, Savea, Carter, A Smith, Woodcock, Coles, Franks, Retallick, Whitelock, Messam, Cane, Read (capt).
Replacements: Mealamu, Crockett, Faumuina, Luatua, Todd, Kerr-Barlow, Barrett, Piutau.
Watch New Zealand v South Africa: Sat, 8am, Sky Sports 3 HD