22-year-old Savea gets first All Blacks start for Springboks clash

ARDIE SAVEA WILL make his first start for New Zealand in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against South Africa [8.35am Irish time, Sky Sports 3].

The Hurricanes openside has already won five caps and scored one Test try, but now gets his starting opportunity after Sam Cane was ruled out due to a hamstring injury.

Savea will start alongside his brother, Julian. Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

22-year-old Savea had a sensational Super Rugby season with the Canes, helping the Wellington franchise to the title, and has been pushing hard for the seven shirt at Test level.

Cane delivered superb performances in the opening rounds of the Rugby Championship, but many Kiwi fans will be excited by the prospect of Savea unleashing his explosive play from kick-off in Christchurch this weekend.

Savea’s promotion into the New Zealand XV sees Crusaders openside Matt Todd included on the bench, while Highlanders playmaker Lima Sopoaga could win his third Test cap as a replacement, as he takes Aaron Cruden’s spot in the matchday 23.

Meanwhile, Lions hooker Malcolm Marx could make his Test debut off the Springboks bench, after head coach Allister Coetzee called him into his 23.

Pieter-Steph du Toit comes into the South Africa team at lock, replacing the injured Lood de Jager, while Vincent Koch takes over from Lourens Adriaanse at tighthead.

Stade Français back row Willem Alberts is included on a bench that features a 6/2 split, while Damien de Allende takes Lionel Mapoe’s place as a replacement.

New Zealand:

15. Ben Smith
14. Israel Dagg
13. Malakai Fekitoa
12. Ryan Crotty
11. Julian Savea
10. Beauden Barrett
9. Aaron Smith

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles
3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Ardie Savea
8. Kieran Read (captain)


16. James Parsons
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Charlie Faumuina
19. Luke Romano
20. Matt Todd
21. TJ Perenara
22. Lima Sopoaga
23. Anton Lienart-Brown

South Africa:

15. Johan Goosen
14. Bryan Habana
13. Jesse Kriel
12. Juan de Jongh
11. Francois Hougaard
10. Elton Jantjies
9. Faf de Klerk

1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Adriaan Strauss (captain)
3. Vincent Koch
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
6. Francois Louw
7. Oupa Mohoje
8. Warren Whiteley


16. Macolm Marx
17. Steven Kitshoff
18. Lourens Adriaanse
19. Franco Mostert
20. Willem Alberts
21. Jaco Kriel
22. Morné Steyn
23. Damien de Allende

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