All Blacks coach Graham Henry has named Piri Weepu as his back-up flyhalf for the Tri-Nations Test against South Africa at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth, on Saturday.
As previously announced hooker Keven Mealamu will captain the team, the second time he leads in a Test, after he captained the All Blacks against Scotland in November 2008.
The starting XV sees flyhalf Colin Slade make his second start in his fifth Test and Jimmy Cowan is at scrumhalf.
However, Henry has named two regular scrumhalves, Andy Ellis and Piri Weepu, on the bench and no specialist flyhalf - meaning Weepu will cover the No.10 channel.
Although Weepu has made a number of appearances at flyhalf for the Wellington Lions (in the NPC) and Hurricanes (in Super Rugby), he has never played flyhalf in a Test.
With nine frontline players sidelined, this gamble may give the under-performing Springboks an opening to steal a much-needed win.
In the forwards Liam Messam is at No.8, Adam Thomson is at openside flank, Sam Whitelock returns to the second row alongside Ali Williams and John Afoa returns from his eye socket injury at tighthead prop.
The starting XV also features the return of a number of other recently-injured All Blacks to the Test side for the first time in 2011.
The All Blacks most capped prop Tony Woodcock returns to the front row.
In the backs Richard Kahui is at centre, pairing with Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield for the first time; Isaia Toeava is on the right wing, and Israel Dagg, who scored a memorable try in last year's Test against the Springboks in Soweto, is at fullback.
This weekend's Test will feature a number of milestones for a trio of All Blacks, Blues and Auckland teammates: Mealamu will play his 85th Test, Woodcock will play his 75th, while Ali Williams will pull on the black jersey for his 65th Test.
Henry said the All Blacks had had a great build-up in Port Elizabeth and the team was feeling refreshed and raring to go.
"There is excitement across the board in the squad and every player will be looking to put in a big performance this weekend," Henry said.
"Playing the Springboks at home is always a massive occasion and with Rugby World Cup spots also up for grabs, our players will be looking to put in a big performance.
"We know we will also be facing a wounded Springboks side who will want to bounce back from their three losses on the trot so we will have to be ready for a huge physical contest."
The All Blacks and Springboks have played each other 82 times, with 46 wins to the All Blacks, 33 to South Africa and three draws.
The All Blacks have played the Springboks four times in Port Elizabeth (1928, 1949, 1960 and 1970), with victories to South Africa on every occasion.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Isaia Toeava, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Adam Thomson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Cory Jane.
Date: Saturday, August 20
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Small (England), Carlo Damasco (Italy)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
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