All Blacks likely to make changes for clash against Fiji

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That has been the coaching mantra since the side's announcement, and with injuries thrown into the mix, there will inevitably be a different look to the team that takes the field at Forsyth Barr Stadium.


Assistant coach John Plumtree said, "We've got a squad that's pretty hungry to impress, and we've got one more game after this before we get into the Bleds [Bledisloe Cup].


"We'll make a few changes. These players all want to have a crack and we want to give them the opportunity."


On the doubtful list is openside flanker Dalton Papalii who suffered a calf injury during the 102-0 win over Tonga in Auckland. And fellow loose forward Ardie Savea still has a knee injury.


Plumtree said Papalii was being monitored but was struggling. Savea, and centre Anton Lienert-Brown, were progressing well in their recoveries, and calls on them would be made later in the week.


However, it was likely that loose forward Shannon Frizell would be considered as he had recovered from an ankle injury.



His return would bolster the All Blacks' defensive game against the bigger Fijian forwards.


Assessing what Fiji would bring by way of tactics was frustrated by their lack of play due to Covid. Plumtree said they had footage from a game against Georgia but, that was in wet conditions.


"But they've got big forwards, some really fast backs, and they've got some good, experienced leaders. It should be an entertaining game," he said.


"We know what they can bring in terms of their offloading game. They are pretty extravagant in that department, so I expect that'll happen on Saturday night.


"It's been a bit part of our preparation, defensively. [Defence coach] Scott McLeod has been looking at stuff we can do to defend that.


"Under the roof is going to be fast, like all games down here," he said.



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