World Cup: (Supersport) Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga and lock James Broadhurst will make their All Blacks debuts against South Africa on Saturday after being named in the starting side for the Rugby Championship test on Thursday.
Coach Steve Hansen continued his project to build depth in all positions ahead of the World Cup defence later this year with Sopoaga and Broadhurst rewarded for fine seasons in Super Rugby.
Sopoaga’s halfback partnership with Aaron Smith helped the Otago Highlanders to their maiden title, while the athletic Broadhurst’s Wellington Hurricanes were losing finalists.
With Aaron Cruden likely to miss the World Cup because of a knee injury and Dan Carter rested, Sopoaga will have a chance to press for a spot in the World Cup squad ahead of Colin Slade, who drops off the bench to make way for Beauden Barrett.
Aaron Smith returns at scrumhalf and will be tasked with firing a backline that features two other Smiths in Conrad, who is reunited with Ma’a Nonu in the centres, and Ben, who starts on the wing.
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