WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Centres Ryan Crotty and Sonny Bill Williams, and winger Rieko Ioane have been recalled after injury to the All Blacks team for their Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Wellington on Saturday.
Crotty, who suffered a concussion after a sickening head clash with team mate Jack Goodhue in the opening match of the southern hemisphere competition against Australia, will slot back into his preferred inside centre role.
Anton Lienert-Brown, who impressed coming off the bench for Crotty in Sydney and Ngani Laumape against Argentina last week, will start at outside centre, with Goodhue rested.
Coach Steve Hansen has recalled Ioane to the left wing after he recovered from a hamstring injury, while Williams has been named on the bench after a horror run of injuries. The match against the Springboks will be his eighth of the season.
Williams missed the first two tests against France in June following knee surgery and after making a surprise return for the third game he injured his shoulder and has not played since.
Hansen reinstated first-choice flankers Sam Cane and Liam Squire, while lock Sam Whitelock replaced the injured Brodie Retallick and Scott Barrett retained his spot in the second row.
Jordie Barrett has returned to fullback with Ben Smith shifting to the right wing and Ioane taking the number 11 jersey. Waisake Naholo drops out of the matchday squad.
Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett will play in Hansen’s preferred halfback combination.
Team: 15-Jordie Barrett, 14-Ben Smith, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 12-Ryan Crotty, 11-Rieko Ioane, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read (captain), 7-Sam Cane, 6-Liam Squire, 5-Scott Barrett, 4-Sam Whitelock, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16-Liam Coltman, 17-Tim Perry, 18-Ofa Tuungafasi, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Ardie Savea, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Sonny Bill Williams, 23-Damian McKenzie
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ed Osmond)