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All Blacks change two for second Test

Waisake Naholo and Anton Lienert-Brown will both start for New Zealand in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

The All Blacks will seal the Series in Wellington should they back up their 30-15 opening win in Auckland but their success came at a cost with Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty picking up injuries.

Naholo comes in for full-back Smith who suffered a concussion but the Highlanders powerhouse will start on the wing with Israel Dagg wearing the No.15 jersey.

With Crotty pulling his hamstring at Eden Park, Lienert-Brown has a chance to impress from the start alongside Sonny Bill Williams.

Uncapped centre Ngani Laumape, who is the leading try scorer in Super Rugby this year, is rewarded for an outstanding display for the Hurricanes in their 31-31 draw against the Lions on Tuesday with a place in the match-day 23.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “While it’s disappointing to lose both Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty, it creates an opportunity for others. ‘Izzy’ (Israel Dagg) is a world-class back three player, as is Anton in the midfield, and both Waisake and Ngani are coming into the Test side following outstanding performances against the Lions for their respective Super franchises.

“While we were happy with the win last weekend, we know that it was just a start, in what is a three-test series. That means the job is far from done. It’s going to require us to take our game to a higher level. It’s going to be very demanding, physically and mentally, on both sides.

“We’re aware the British and Irish Lions have their backs to the wall and will chuck everything at us to keep themselves alive in the series. They are a quality side who we respect immensely.

“In reality, last week’s Test could’ve gone either way had they taken more of their chances. Our job will be to make sure that we shut down their counter-attack better than we did last weekend and at the same time, win the critical moments across the 80 minutes. As always, it’ll start with the battle of the tight five.

“We’ve worked hard throughout the week in our preparation here in Wellington and are now looking forward to Saturday.”

New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Waisake Naholo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks; Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock; Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (c)

Replacements: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Ngani Laumape

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