Star All Black trio dropped, Hansen confirms

Ben Smith was one of three All Blacks dropped for this week's second Bledisloe Cup test

Ben Smith was one of three All Blacks dropped for this week's second Bledisloe Cup test

Referee Jerome Garces' decision, which left the All Blacks with 14 men after halftime, was labelled "ridiculous" by England coach Eddie Jones, while Wallabies boss Michael Cheika could only offer qualified support despite his team being the beneficiaries.

New Zealand has won 1,061 of 1,261, or 84%, of the tests it has played since its first in 1905, has won 114 of its 165 test against Australia and has won its last 18 tests against the Wallabies at Saturday's match venue in a streak stretching 33 years.

An All Blacks victory would level the series and see them retain the trophy as holders, gaining a psychological edge heading into their World Cup title defence in Japan next month.

Patrick Tuipuloto starts at lock alongside Sam Whitelock following Scott Barrett's three-week ban for his shoulder charge on Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper, a dismissal that changed the test significantly and meant the Ardie Savea/Sam Cane/Kieran Read loose forward combination couldn't be fairly evaluated.

Nepo Laulala claims Franks' tighthead berth in one of five starting changes from the team humbled 47-26 by the Wallabies in Perth.

Head coach Steve Hansen has been forced to drop his most-experienced front row forward, 108-test prop Owen Franks, and his most-experienced outside back, 77-test winger and fullback Ben Smith from his lineup for Saturday's test in Auckland.

Asked whether the trio had been dropped, Hansen replied: "Well, they're not playing, so you can say they've been dropped".

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George Bridge and Sevu Reece come in for Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith, and Jordie Barrett comes onto the bench in the 23 jersey.

"We need to find out if these three players can step up to the plate under the biggest pressure, and you don't get much bigger than this one", Hansen said.

"We wouldn't be doing it if we didn't think that the guys we put in aren't good enough to do the job on Saturday if we play well. I don't think it's a risk and there's lots of reward in it". "This is the best challenge we could get prior to going to a World Cup".

'We didn't front up last week and we need to do so this week or the trophy will be heading back to Australia, ' commented Hansen after naming his side to play at Eden Park this Saturday.

Veteran Sonny Bill Williams returns to the midfield following injury to Jack Goodhue, pushing Anton Lienert-Brown to centre, while fourth-choice lock Patrick Tuipulotu replaces the suspended Scott Barrett. I need Sam to lead. He's the big boy in the pack with over 100 Tests, you expect those guys to lead'.

The Wallabies should have replied with points inside the first quarter but failed to as Marika Koroibete was first denied by a Bridge and Reece try-saving tackle, before Christian Lealiifano hit the post with a curling effort off the tee following a Sam Whitelock tackle off the ball.

That year the Wallabies won the first Bledisloe Test in Sydney 27-19 before losing 41-13 in Auckland and the All Blacks, with eight players aged over 30, went on to beat Australia in the World Cup final.

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