Rugby World Cup: Ardie Savea to captain All Blacks in Bledisloe Cup opener against Wallabies, Cam Roigard named for test debut

Ardie Savea will lead the All Blacks in Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with captain Sam Cane unavailable through injury. 

Savea, 29, will serve as skipper for the fifth time in his test career, after Cane sustained a neck injury in the 35-20 victory over South Africa two weeks ago.

Cane's absence sees Dalton Papali'i slot in at No.7, alongside his captain and Shannon Frizell, who keeps his place at blindside flanker.

Hurricanes halfback Cam Roigard is in line to make his test debut, named on the bench as cover for Aaron Smith.

Veteran lock Sam Whitelock will make his first test appearance of the year off the bench, after suffering an Achilles injury for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Pacific, with Brodie Retallick and Scott Barrett retained as the starting second row.

Anton Lienert-Brown has been named on the bench for his first test of the year, after being banned for the start of the Rugby Championship, following a red card in the Super Rugby Pacific final.

Most of the starting side that comprehensively defeated the Springboks has been retained. The front row of Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax keep their places, with Cane's absence the only change.

The backline is completely unchanged, with Mark Telea retained on the wing. 

On the bench, Luke Jacobson covers the loose forwards in his first test of the year, while prop Nepo Laulala returns to the side to replace Tamaiti Williams.

Caleb Clarke is also retained as a specialist winger on the bench, with both Will Jordan and Jordie Barrett expected to provide fullback cover for Beauden Barrett.

Cam Roigard.
Cam Roigard. Photo credit: Getty Images

After two wins from their first two tests of the year, victory would guarantee the All Blacks both the Rugby Championship title and the Bledisloe Cup for another year. 

All Blacks: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Brodie Retallick, 5-Scott Barrett, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Dalton Papali'i, 8-Ardie Savea (c), 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Mark Telea, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Will Jordan, 15-Beauden Barrett

Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Sam Whitelock, 20-Luke Jacobson, 21-Cam Roigard, 22-Anton Lienert-Brown, 23-Caleb Clarke

Join Newshub at 9:45pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test