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Kepu returns as injury woes continue for Wallabies

The Wallabies forward pack has been buffeted by yet another injury-enforced change, with prop Ben Alexander withdrawing from Saturday's Bledisloe Test match with a wrist injury.

Reds prop James Slipper has been elevated to the starting XV in place of Alexander, while Waratahs tighthead Sekope Kepu returns from injury to come onto the bench.

Alexander's withdrawal comes after reserve hooker Saia Faingaa was forced out with a broken bone in his hand, incurred at training on Tuesday.

James Hanson is now back up for starting hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who will face off against All Blacks veteran Kevin Mealamu.

Mealamu, 33, will play his 100th Test on Saturday after All Blacks coach Steve Hansen relegated Andrew Hore to the bench.

Hansen made just one other change from the side that beat the Springboks in Soweto nearly two weeks ago, bringing in tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina to replace Owen Franks, who moves to the bench.