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One change to All Blacks to face England

Finlay Christie is the only change to the All Blacks starting lineup for the second Test against England at Eden Park
Finlay Christie will start for the All Blacks in the second Test against England at Eden Park PHOTO: NZR/LYNNE CAMERON ACTION PRESS

Blues halfback Finlay Christie is the only change to the All Blacks starting XV named for the second test against England at Eden Park.

Chiefs No 9 Cortez Ratima is set for his test debut after being named in the reserves to face England on Saturday (kick-off 7.05pm).


Christie earns the No 9 jersey after coming on as a substitute during the first test win in Dunedin in place of TJ Perenara, who has been ruled out of the second test with a leg injury.

It will be Christie’s first test start since the All Blacks 23-20 win over Australia in Dunedin in August 2023. The backline otherwise remains unchanged, with Damian McKenzie at first-five and Stephen Perofeta at fullback.

King Country-born Ratima, 23, who was one of five new caps in the All Blacks squad for the series, is set to become the first of those players to be capped.

In the forwards, Samipeni Finau has been cleared to play and will start at blindside flanker, with openside Dalton Papali’i and No 8 Ardie Savea once again completing the loose trio, in an otherwise unchanged pack.

All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson said the squad was prepared and ready to win the series at Eden Park.

“Finlay has worked hard and earned his place in the starting side and it will be a proud day for Cortez and his whānau. He’s a talented young man who is ready for Test footy,” said Robertson.

“We can feel New Zealand’s support here in Auckland and we will hear it at a sold-out Eden Park. It’s a very special venue to the All Blacks, and we’re going there on Saturday to win the series against England.”

The All Blacks winning record at Eden Park stretches back to 1994 and has included 48 wins and two draws since.

ALL BLACKS: Stephen Perofeta, Sevu Reece, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Tele'a, Damian McKenzie, Finlay Christie, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali'i, Samipena Finau, Patrick Tuipulotu, Scott Barrett (c), Tyrell Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Ofa Tuiungafasi, Fletcher Newell, Tupou Vaa'i Luke Jacobson, Cortez Raima, Anton Lienert-Brown, Beauden Barrett


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