Henry rings the changes despite rout of Wallabies

NEW ZEALAND have made three changes to the side that hammered Australia 49-28 in Melbourne on Saturday for this weekend’s return match in Christchurch.

Wellington’s Piri Weepu starts at scrum-half with the uncapped Alby Mathewson on the bench and Jimmy Cowan not considered for selection because of a rib injury.

Auckland centre Benson Stanley pushes Israel Dagg out of the 22. All Blacks coach Graham Henry believes his side can still improve.

“The win in Melbourne was very pleasing and the exciting thing is that there is a real desire amongst the players to build on that performance,” said Henry.

“It’s good to be back in Christchurch, there’s a real Test match buzz in the city, and the guys are really looking forward to playing in the rebuilt AMI Stadium.”

Centre Ma’a Nonu will play in his 50th Test, while prop Tony Woodcock will make his 67th Test appearance, becoming the most capped prop in All Blacks history.

Nonu made his debut as a 21-year-old against England in 2003.

Fly-half Daniel Carter passed a number of significant points-scoring milestones in the win over the Wallabies.

Carter (1094 points) is now the second highest points scorer in internationals, behind England’s Jonny Wilkinson (1178). He also holds the record for the most points against Australia (226 points).

Meanwhile Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has already started devising a plan to beat New Zealand in their autumn Test series at Murrayfield on November 13.

Robinson, who was speaking at Pittodrie as the stadium was named as the venue for the final autumn Test against Samoa, feels the All Blacks win over Australia was a masterclass for anyone interested in the sport.

He said: “For anyone who hasn’t watched their game last Saturday, I recommend they do. As a team, I think that’s one of the best performances from a side in the professional era.”

New Zealand team to play Australia in Christchurch: M Muliaina; C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, J Rokocoko; D Carter, P Weepu; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, O Franks, B Thorn, T Donnelly, J Kaino, R McCaw (captain), K Read. Replacements: C Flynn, B Franks, S Whitelock, V Vito, A Mathewson, A Cruden, B Stanley.

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