Rugby: Seven All Blacks named in XV squad to play Japan's Brave Blossoms at Kumamoto

Coach Leon MacDonald has named seven internationals in the All Blacks XV matchday squad to play Japan's Brave Blossoms at Kumamoto on Saturday.

Akira Ioane, Brad Weber, Stephen Perofeta, Jack Goodhue, Pita Gus Sowakula and Aiden Ross all start, with halfback Folau Fakatava named on the bench.

MacDonald has also made seven changes to team that defeated Japan XV 38-6 in the  Challenge Cup series-opener.

Ross and George Bell come into the front row, with only tighthead Jermaine Ainsley retained in the No.3 jersey.

Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Quinten Strange partner up again in the second row, while Akira Ioane keeps his spot at flanker. He's joined by co-captain Billy Harmon and Chiefs No.8 Sowakula in a formidable loose forward trio.

Perofeta, Goodhue and Ruben Love keep their spots in the backline, with Jona Nareki and AJ Lam taking the wing spots, and Billy Proctor occupying the midfield.

Billy Harmon in action against Japan XV
Billy Harmon in action against Japan XV. Photo credit: Photosport

"The Brave Blossoms have shown they're a top-tier team, filled with capped players,"  MacDonald said. "We need to build on our performance last week.

"We're going up against a full-strength national side. They will be hungry for a win and we need to match that."

All Blacks XV: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-George Bell, 3-Jermaine Ainsley, 4-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 5-Quinten Strange, 6-Akira Ioane, 7-Billy Harmon, 8-Pita Gus Sowakula, 9-Brad Weber, 10-Stephen Perofeta, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-AJ Lam, 15-Ruben Love

Reserves: 16-Tyrone Thompson, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-George Dyer, 19-Cameron Suafoa, 20-Christian Lio-Willie, 21-Folau Fakatava, 22-Alex Nankivell, 23-Sam Gilbert