Gear Replaces Savea as All Blacks Seek Rugby Championship Sweep

New Zealand made two starting changes for its final Rugby Championship match against South Africa, picking Hosea Gear on the left wing in place of Julian Savea and replacing Luke Romano with Brodie Retallick at lock.

In the changes to the bench from the title-clinching 54-15 win in Argentina last week, Tamati Ellison takes Ben Smith’s utility back spot, prop Ben Franks replaces Charlie Faumuina and Adam Thomson provides loose forward cover in place of Sam Cane.

A win at FNB Stadium on Oct. 6 would give the world champion All Blacks a sweep of victories in the southern hemisphere championship, which includes Argentina for the first time this year. New Zealand has won its past 15 Test matches.

“South Africa are coming off a big win against Australia and will be playing in front of their home crowd at Soweto so it’s going to be a huge test,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in a team statement.

New Zealand won 29-22 in the teams’ only previous meeting at FNB Stadium, formerly Soccer City.

The Springboks yesterday named the same starting 15 in back-to-back Tests for the first time since 2009, retaining the lineup that beat Australia 31-8 last week. The only change to the 22-man squad was on the bench, where Coenie Oosthuizen takes over from Pat Cilliers as replacement prop.

NEW ZEALAND: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.

Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Luke Romano, Adam Thomson, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Tamati Ellison.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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