TOKYO – Sonny Bill Williams was lined up to play his 50th Test on Saturday as the All Blacks named a strong team for the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Japan.
The code-hopping double World Cup-winner was named in the centres alongside Ryan Crotty, who returns to the side after Jack Goodhue was ruled out through illness.
Damian McKenzie returns as fullback with Ben Smith switching to the right wing, while Ardie Savea and Liam Squire make up the second row after Sam Cane broke a vertebra in his neck in this month’s 32-30 win over South Africa.
Saturday’s game in Yokohama, a year ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, kicks off an All Blacks tour which also features games against England, Ireland and Italy.
All Black Team
Damian McKenzie, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Kieran Read (captain), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.
Bench: Nathan Harris, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Matt Todd, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown.