All Blacks start Williams, McKenzie

New Zealand have named their side to face Australia in the Rugby Championship opener, with Sonny Bill Williams and Damian McKenzie starting.

Williams returns to the matchday 23 at 12 inside Ryan Crotty, while in the outside backs McKenzie starts at full-back in his third Test, with Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane on the wings. Anton Lienert-Brown provides additional back cover.

The matchday 23 features the starting front row of 94-Test veteran Owen Franks, fellow prop Joe Moody and hooker Codie Taylor, with Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett and Ofa Tu'ungafasi the cover.

The experienced locking combination of Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick will pair up for their 44th start together, with Luke Romano providing impact off the bench.

In the loose forwards, Liam Squire comes into the matchday 23 in the number six jersey for his fourth Test start, alongside openside Sam Cane and All Blacks captain Kieran Read, with Ardie Savea named as loose forward cover.

In the backs, Aaron Smith will start alongside Beauden Barrett. TJ Perenara and Lima Sopoaga are the inside backs run on reserves.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: "There's a real sense of excitement within the group and a desire to go out and perform well this weekend. This Test will give us a great opportunity to gauge where we are at when it comes to things we have been working on since the Lions Tour.

"We've had a great build-up here in Sydney and there's a single-minded focus. We're playing for our most significant trophy outside of the Rugby World Cup and it means a lot to us as a team As always, it's going to be a massive occasion and we're looking forward to Saturday."

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, August 19
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 20:00 local (10:00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Andy Brace (Ireland)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

- Team Talk Media
- Team Talk Media