SYDNEY, Nov 3 (Reuters) - New Zealand are likely to make several changes from the side that secured the Bledisloe Cup last weekend for their Tri-Nations clash with Australia on Saturday, assistant coach John Plumtree said.
The All Blacks thrashed the Wallabies 43-5 at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium to retain the Cup, the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy, for an 18th successive season.
They travel to Brisbane on Saturday for their fourth game in a row against Australia and while the focus is still on winning the Tri-Nations Plumtree said they wanted to freshen things up and give some players who had impressed in Super Rugby the chance to show what they can do at test level.
“There will be some changes,” Plumtree told reporters from Sydney on a conference call on Tuesday. “We have got some players knocking on the door.
“There has been some awesome competition for spots, and we can expect some changes to freshen players up and we also want to see, as selectors, players that have performed really well during Super and got this opportunity to play in the jersey.”
Plumtree gave nothing away in terms of what the changes may look like, but said the coaching staff had been impressed by the squad members who had played the roles of the Wallabies in contested training sessions over the last two weeks.
“The ultimate reward for them is to give them a crack,” he said. “I’m not saying it will happen for all of them but it is something that will be seriously considered.”
Plumtree added there was only one real injury concern, with prop Joe Moody still going through concussion protocols and his chances of playing this weekend were “pretty remote”.
Captain Sam Cane, who broke a bone in his neck two years ago and came off with a head injury in Sydney, was “good to go”.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.