Beauden Barrett will start at full-back for New Zealand’s crunch Rugby World Cup opener against South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday.
The 28-year-old slots into the 15 shirt to accommodate attacking playmaker Richie Mo’unga at fly-half, with stellar full-back Ben Smith taking a seat on the bench.
Ryan Crotty starts at inside centre with the back-to-back world champion All Blacks boasting three hugely-talented playmakers in their starting backline.
Starting XV: B Barrett (Blues), S Reece, A Lienert-Brown, R Crotty, G Bridge, R Mo’unga (all Crusaders), A Smith (Highlanders), J Moody (Crusaders), D Coles (Hurricanes), N Laulala, S Whitelock, S Barrett (all Crusaders), A Savea (Hurricanes), S Cane (Chiefs), K Read (Crusaders, capt). Replacements: C Taylor (Crusaders), O Tuungafasi (Blues), A Ta’avao (Chiefs), P Tuipulotu (Blues), S Frizell (Highlanders), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), SB Williams (Blues), B Smith (Highlanders).
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus made just one change from the starting side that drew with New Zealand in July when he named his team for Saturday’s crunch Rugby World Cup clash with the world champions in Yokohama.
Siya Kolisi, who missed the 16-16 Wellington draw because of injury, will captain the side at openside flanker in place of Kwagga Smith to make up an imposing back row with number eight Duane Vermeulen and blindside Pieter Steph du Toit.
Otherwise, Erasmus has stuck with the side that last played the All Blacks for a match that is likely to decide who wins Pool B and enjoys the potentially relatively easier path through to the final.
The matchday squad was identical to the one Erasmus put out for the 41-7 victory over Japan in Kumagaya this month that kept the Springboks unbeaten this year.
South Africa – 15-Willie le Roux, 14-Cheslin Kolbe, 13-Lukhanyo Am, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Makazole Mapimpi, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Faf de Klerk, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Pieter Steph du Toit, 6-Siya Kolisi (captain), 5-Franco Mostert, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Frans Malherbe, 2-Malcom Marx, 1-Steven Kitshoff