New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has rung the changes for the Test against Italy
Last Updated: November 15, 2012 12:52pm
Kieran Read will lead out a much-changed All Blacks side against Italy
No 8 Kieran Read will captain New Zealand for the first time in Saturday's Test against Italy and will lead out a much-changed line-up.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen opted to rest Richie McCaw as he attempts to give every member of his 32-man squad a run-out in the opening two Tests of their tour of Europe.
McCaw has been omitted from the match-day squad while wing Julian Savea is the only player retained from the starting XV that beat Scotland 51-22 last week.
Aaron Cruden will start at fly-half as Dan Carter is dropped to the bench and, with Israel Dagg missing out with bruising, regular No 10 Beauden Barret starts at full-back after coming off the bench to occupy that position against the Scots.
The experimental midfield pairing of Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith that faced Scotland are unavailable due to injuries so Hansen has turned to the experienced combination of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.
The other enforced change sees Liam Messam recalled at blindside in place of Adam Thomson, who is suspended, while elsewhere in the pack Ali Williams comes into second row alongside Brodie Retallick.
Hansen said: "We were happy with our performance last weekend against Scotland but also knew there were areas for improvement ahead of the Italian Test and we have been working on getting that right this week.
"The team last week put a stake in the ground, and while the performance was nowhere near perfect, there was some quality rugby played. There is now an opportunity for this group to build on that."
New Zealand: Barrett, Gear, Smith, Nonu, Savea, Cruden, Smith, Read, Cane, Messam, Retallick, Williams, Faumuina, Mealamu, Woodcock.
Replacements: Coles, Crockett, Franks, Whitelock, Vito, Kerr-Barlow, Carter, Jane.