Under-fire Foster makes four changes for All Blacks ahead of first Springboks Test

Peter Thompson
Stats Perform
New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has made four changes for the upcoming South Africa Test
New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has made four changes for the upcoming South Africa Test

Under-fire New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has made four changes to his XV for the All Blacks' first Test against South Africa, bidding to "add new experiences and grow our game".

New Zealand begin their Rugby Championship campaign with a double-header against the Springboks as they look to bounce back from a series defeat at home to Ireland.

Sevu Reece has made way for Caleb Clarke for the Mbombela opener, while Scott Barrett comes into the second row for the injured Brodie Retallick. Samisoni Taukei'aho and Angus Ta'avao will also play, as Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala both drop out of the 23-man squad.

Tyrel Lomax and Ethan de Groot make the squad for the first time in the 2022 international season, starting from the bench.

There has been much talk around Foster's future after the All Blacks' first home series loss since 1994, but he is looking forward to the challenge of these two matches.

"What a great way to start this year's Rugby Championship," Foster said. "It's always an exciting tournament to be part of.

"This year's draw means we have a massive challenge of two games here in the South Africa. We have settled in well in Mbombela and are preparing for what is always an intense game against our old foe.

"Many of our squad are here in South Africa for the first time. This gives us another opportunity to add new experiences and grow our game." 

New Zealand team: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; George Bower, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Angus Ta'avao, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Akira Ioane, Sam Cane (captain), Ardie Savea.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Ethan De Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Tupou Vaa'i, Shannon Frizell, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo'unga, Quinn Tupaea.

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