(Reuters) - Loose forward Jerome Kaino, centre George Moala and winger Waisake Naholo are likely to start in a much-changed New Zealand side for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against South Africa, head coach Steve Hansen has suggested.
Kaino recovered from a shoulder injury sustained earlier this month, while Moala (knee) and Naholo (hamstring) have returned from injury and will travel with the team.
“Some people put their hands up but it’s that time of year where we’ve got to be brave and trust the people we’ve selected so there’ll probably be some more changes next week,” Hansen was quoted as saying by New Zealand media.
“JK (Kaino) is available so he could come back in. We’ll look at some of the performances tonight but Waisake is another one he’s back fit and George (Moala) is back.”
The All Blacks racked up their 16th test win in a row with a 36-17 victory over Argentina in the Rugby Championship and have already clinched the title with five straight victories.
Centre Anton Lienert-Brown, who was influential in Saturday’s win in Buenos Aires, is also likely to feature against the Springboks, who secured a 18-10 win over Australia on Saturday.
The 21-year-old said he is ready to take up both midfield roles at the highest level.
“It’s been good to play both,” Lienert-Brown said.
“Fossy (assistant coach Ian Foster) said if you can make your mark in both positions it’ll help you with selection so that’s what I tried to do. I’ve been loving it.”
A victory over South Africa in their final Rugby Championship test next weekend would match the world champions’ top tier record for consecutive wins.
That record is currently held by the 1965-69 and 2013-14 All Blacks and 1997-98 Springboks.
Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty