All Blacks change 12 for Italy clash

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Coach Steve Hansen stuck with his original plan of fielding younger players for the clash at Stadio Olimpico, despite last week's chastening 40-29 defeat to Ireland in Chicago.

Regular captain and number eight Kieran Read has been rested, as Steven Luatua returns to the side after a two-year absence.

"There were always going to be changes. It's that time of year where if we don't make changes we were going to run out of petrol. It's an opportunity for some people to tell us what they've got at this level," Hansen had said after the defeat in Chicago.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow starts at scrum-half after impressing for the Maori All Blacks against the US Eagles in Chicago, with Anton Lienert-Brown and Malakai Fekitoa coming into midfield.

Debuts could be made by hooker Liam Coltman and wing Rieko Ioane who have been named on the replacements bench.

Last week's loss was New Zealand's first ever to Ireland in 111 years of matches, and ended their record run of 18 straight Test victories.

New Zealand team to face Italy

(15-1)

Damian McKenzie; Israel Dagg, Malaki Fekitoa, Anton Lienert-Brown, Waisake Naholo; Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow; Steven Luatua, Sam Cane (capt), Elliot Dixon; Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu; Charlie Faumuina, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crocket

Replacements: Liam Coltman, Joe Moody, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Brodie Retallick, Matt Todd, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Rieko Ioane

AFP

Original source: All Blacks change 12 for Italy clash

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