Rieko Ioane named on bench as All Blacks make 12 changes for Italy clash

Debutants Rieko Ioane and Liam Coltman have been named on the bench after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen made 12 changes to the side that lost to Ireland in Chicago last week.

The All Blacks have made 12 changes ahead of their clash with Italy in Rome with two players in line to make their debut.

"On behalf of the entire All Blacks squad, we want to congratulate Liam and Rieko on their elevation to the matchday 23 for the first time. They have both worked incredibly hard and deserve their opportunity," Hansen said. 

"Whilst we have made a number of changes, as we indicated, we will be looking for a massive improvement in our performance from last weekend.

The NZ flanker says they were hurting after the loss to Ireland and that it was only his second loss he has experienced as an All Black. Source: 1 NEWS

"Italy will bring their own unique flavour to the game. They have a big, strong forward pack and some really exciting backs. They will look to drive their maul and be as disruptive as possible. Therefore, we will have to be clinical and effective in all aspects of our game, starting with our set piece. We are also expecting to see an improvement in our kicking game."

Coltman has been named at replacement hooker, with Codie Taylor picked to start alongside experienced props Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina.

On loan from the All Blacks Rieko Ioane has been renuinted with brother, Akira, in the New Zealand Maori side to play the USA in Chicago. Source: 1 NEWS

Scott Barrett, who made his Test debut last weekend against Ireland, will start alongside Patrick Tuipulotu, with fellow lock Brodie Retallick returning to the All Blacks via the replacements bench.

Sam Cane has been named captain and will start at openside flanker alongside Elliot Dixon and Steven Luatua, who returns to the All Blacks in the number eight jersey.

Damian McKenzie is at fullback in his first Test start, after coming off the bench in his Test debut against Argentina last month. Ioane will cover the outside backs from the bench.

All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Israel Dagg, Malakai Fekitoa, Anton Lienert-Brown, Waisake Naholo, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane (captain), Elliot Dixon, Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu, Charlie Faumuina, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brodie Retallick, Matt Todd, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Rieko Ioane.

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