All Blacks coach loyal to France starters
New Zealand All Blacks' head coach Steve Hansen, pictured on November 30, 2012, has resisted the temptation to tweak his run-on side following last weekend's unconvincing win over France and has kept the same starting line up for the second Test.
Although Hansen threatened after the 23-13 win in Auckland to make changes they have been restricted to the bench for Saturday's crucial encounter in Christchurch.
Hooker Andrew Hore replaces Keven Mealamu in a straight rotation while prop Tony Woodcock and scrumhalf Piri Weepu return from injury to replace Ben Afeaki and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.
Despite an impressive performance last week by bruising replacement wing Rene Ranger, and some inconsistent efforts by the forwards at the breakdown, Hansen remained loyal to the first week starters when he named his second Test squad on Thursday.
Instead, he said his focus was on continuing to bed in his game blueprint, getting people clearer with their roles and working on the details.
The All Blacks made at least 25 unforced errors in the first Test which Hansen attributed in part to rustiness and in part to a need to fine tune the style of play he wants.
There was also concern about the way France hassled the All Blacks at the breakdown, winning 10 turnovers from rucks and mauls and only losing two.
"Clearly, there has also been a lot of work done on how we are going to approach the breakdown and I'm sure we will see an improvement there," he said.
"Overall, we have had a good week's preparation. It's now about putting that preparation and hard work into a performance on the track that we can all be proud of."
Hansen said he was under no illusion about the challenge the All Blacks faced with France under pressure to win to stop the All Blacks taking the series with a game to spare.
"One pleasing aspect from last week's Test is that we have been left with no uncertainty just how tough this weekend's Test will be. They have laid down the challenge to us that we will have to be at our very best to beat them."
Saturday's Test will be the 50th for captain Kieran Read and the All Blacks 500th.
The most successful All Black is Conrad Smith, who starts at outside centre on Saturday and has been in the winning side in 59 of his 67 Tests for an 88 percent success rate.
New Zealand 15-1
Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Messam; Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock, Ben Franks, Jeremy Thrush, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Rene Ranger