Savea to start at number six in surprise All Blacks move

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Ardie Savea will surprisingly start at number six for a much-changed All Blacks against the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

Savea is one of six changes to New Zealand's starting side for the Rugby Championship clash, with his positional switch a shock.

The 25-year-old, an openside flanker or number eight, will make his first start at number six.

Dane Coles, Scott Barrett, Sam Cane, Aaron Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown are also starting in changes to the All Blacks side that drew 16-16 against South Africa.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said he had seen improvement from his team ahead of the Bledisloe Cup opener.

"Our preparation this week here in Perth has been very good. We can tell that it's 'Bledisloe One' week as there's a real sense of purpose in everything we do, and a real desire to do it well," he said in a release on Thursday.

"With the extra time together, we're starting to see an improved clarity of roles out on the training park.

"We'll need to take the confidence that comes with that clarity into the Test on Saturday and deliver a game which has high energy, high skill and great decision-making.

"The Bledisloe Cup has always been incredibly important to this team and teams before us. It's those teams, ourselves, our country and our many fans that inspire and drive us to want to go out and retake the trophy.

"We've never felt that it's about going out and retaining the cup because it's always been about earning the right to have it. This Saturday is no different. Both teams will be desperate and hungry for success."

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Scott Barrett, Samuel Whitelock, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, George Bridge.