All Blacks roll out big guns for 100th test against Springboks
The All Blacks coach Ian Foster has selected his strongest possible side for the 100th test against South Africa, with Beauden Barrett at first-five.
There are several changes to the starting XV from last week’s win over Argentina.
Joe Moody stays on one side of the scrum for Saturday night’s match in Townsville, while Nepo Laulala is back in the number three jersey, replacing Tyrel Lomax who drops out of the matchday 23.
Codie Taylor returns at starting hooker, with Samisoni Taukei’aho on the bench alongside props Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi.
Brodie Retallick returns at lock alongside Scott Barrett, with Patrick Tuipulotu moving to the reserves.
In the loose forwards, Akira Ioane is at blindside flanker, captain Ardie Savea is at openside and Luke Jacobson at No.8.
Ethan Blackadder drops to the bench while Hoskins Sotutu sits out this match.
TJ Perenara is again at halfback, with Barrett back at first-five in his 97th test, replacing Damian McKenzie.
David Havili returns at second-five pushing Quinn Tupaea to the reserves while Rieko Ioane remains at centre.
Dalton Papalii and Anton Lienert-Brown were unavailable due to injury.
The starting back three from last week’s win over Los Pumas are retained, with George Bridge again on the left wing, Will Jordan on the right wing and Jordie Barrett at fullback.
All three Barrett brothers will start the match in North Queensland.
Halfback Brad Weber, McKenzie and Tupaea are the back reserves.
All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster is looking forward to the historic match.
“The whole team is excited at what lies ahead this weekend. The group is working hard, we have been building our performances and we’ve put ourselves in a great position to win the Rugby Championship and that’s really exciting for the team. The fact that it is against South Africa is pretty special.”
The All Blacks have a 10 point lead over the Springboks in the Rugby Championship standings, with South Africa needing to win the next two matches with bonus points to have any chance of winning the title.
Foster said the All Blacks are expecting a torrid battle up front.
“It’s a tough pack to pick at the moment because there are a lot of players putting their hands up and there were some players who played well last week.”
“But we have got some very good combinations that we have worked on since the start of the Championship. It’s great to have experienced players like Joe Moody, Ofa Tuungafasi and Patrick Tuipulotu back. It has given us a great starting pack and a strong bench.”
Foster said the team was trying to focus on their performance, rather than the special occasion.
“For us, as a team, we’re trying to zone in on what we want to do in this game. We are all aware of the history and legacy of this match and respect that, but the only way we can do justice to that is to prepare well and focus on what we have to do.
“We’re excited and getting ready for what will be a huge challenge. It will be the first time a number of our guys have played South Africa so they’re excited and ready for it.”
The matchday 23 is (Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (52)
2. Codie Taylor (62)
3. Nepo Laulala (35)
4. Brodie Retallick (87)
5. Scott Barrett (46)
6. Akira Ioane (8)
7. Ardie Savea (54) – captain
8. Luke Jacobson (9)
9. TJ Perenara (73)
10. Beauden Barrett (96)
11. George Bridge (15)
12. David Havili (9)
13. Rieko Ioane (42)
14. Will Jordan (8)
15. Jordie Barrett (30)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (6)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (22)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (40)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (39)
20. Ethan Blackadder (5)
21. Brad Weber (12)
22. Damian McKenzie (35)
23. Quinn Tupaea (3)
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