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New Zealand 08:35 Argentina

Weepu in for All Blacks

Head coach Hansen opts to make three alterations to his pack

Last Updated: 12/09/12 8:30pm

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Piri Weepu: takes the place of Aaron Smith, who has started the previous six All Blacks Tests this year

Piri Weepu: takes the place of Aaron Smith, who has started the previous six All Blacks Tests this year

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Piri Weepu will make his first start for New Zealand since last year's World Cup in Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with South Africa.

The experienced scrum-half, capped 62 times by his country, takes the place of Aaron Smith - who has started the previous six All Blacks Tests this year - as the only change to the backline.

However head coach Steve Hansen has decided to make a trio of alterations to his pack for the game against the Springboks in Dunedin.

Sam Whitelock replaces Brodie Retallick at lock, Liam Messam comes on to the blindside of the scrum for Victor Vito and hooker Andrew Hore is selected in place of veteran Keven Mealamu.

Bench duties

Retallick, Vito and Mealamu all drop to the bench for the match at Otago Stadium, while there is also a place amongst the replacements for utility back Tamati Ellison.

New Zealand have recorded three victories so far in this year's expanded tournament, their last being a gritty 21-5 triumph over newcomers Argentina.

"At the halfway stage of the Rugby Championship we are very happy, from a results point of view," Hansen said in a statement.

"There is a second challenge we have set ourselves, to constantly improve our game and in that regard we are not the finished product.

"However, the coaching staff and team leaders are reasonably happy with the progress we are making."

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock
Replacements:16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison

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