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All Blacks side named for Eden Park Bledisloe Cup Test

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allblacks.com     21 Aug 2014     Getty Images

The All Blacks will take on Australia at Eden Park on Saturday 23 August (kick-off: 7.35PM NZT) with the match day squad featuring outside back Cory Jane, who will play his 50th Test; midfielder Ryan Crotty coming in at 12 for the injured Ma'a Nonu to make his first start in the run-on XV in his eighth Test; and centre Conrad Smith returning.

In other changes to the squad, loose forward Liam Messam has been named at six, replacing the injured Jerome Kaino, and prop Charlie Faumuina is back from illness, taking his spot on the reserves bench.

The team is: (with Test caps in brackets)

Starting XV:

1. Wyatt Crockett (28)
2. Dane Coles (19)
3. Owen Franks (58)
4. Brodie Retallick (28)
5. Samuel Whitelock (55)
6. Liam Messam (32)
7. Richie McCaw - captain (128)
8. Kieran Read (63)
9. Aaron Smith (30)
10. Aaron Cruden (33)
11. Julian Savea (23)
12. Ryan Crotty (7)
13. Conrad Smith (78)
14. Cory Jane (49)
15. Ben Smith (30)

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu (114)
17. Ben Franks (32)
18. Charlie Faumuina (20)
19. Steven Luatua (12)
20. Sam Cane (15)
21. TJ Perenara (4)
22. Beauden Barrett (20)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (3)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "While we were disappointed with the draw last weekend, we are excited by the opportunity that presents itself this weekend. It's another Test match against Australia, the chance to win the Bledisloe Cup and the first home Test of the Investec Rugby Championship in front of our home fans.

"We have been working hard on all aspects of our game this week and there's a definite resolve to improve the quality of our performance on Saturday."

On the injury front, Hansen confirmed that Nonu had suffered deep shoulder bruising but is expected to be available for selection for the Test against Argentina in Napier in two weeks, while Kaino has an injured elbow, which is expected to keep him out of rugby for four to six weeks.

All Blacks - The Highlights

* Since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have played 32 Tests, with 29 wins, two draws and one loss, for a winning record of 93.5 percent.

* The All Blacks and Australia have played each other 150 times since 1903, with 102 wins to the All Blacks and 41 losses. Last weekend's 12-12 draw in Sydney was the seventh time the teams have drawn.

* The All Blacks have won The Rugby Championship for the past two years and held The Bledisloe Cup since 2003.

Meanwhile, All Blacks squad members Charles Piutau and Nathan Harris have been released to play for their respective ITM Cup teams on Sunday.