Luke Whitelock to captain; Six new All Blacks named
The All Blacks team has been named to play a French XV in the third match of the Vista 2017 All Blacks Northern Tour at Groupama Stadium (Parc Olympique Lyonnais) in Lyon on Tuesday 14 November.
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps. Players making their first All Blacks appearance are in bold):
1. Tim Perry
2. Nathan Harris (9)
3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (1)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (15)
5. Dominic Bird (2)
6. Liam Squire (13)
7. Ardie Savea (22)
8. Luke Whitelock (1) – captain
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (27)
10. Lima Sopoaga (13)
11. Seta Tamanivalu (3)
12. Ngani Laumape (4)
13. Jack Goodhue
14. Matt Duffie
15. David Havili (3)
16. Asafo Aumua
17. Atu Moli
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (12)
19. Scott Barrett (15)
20. Akira Ioane
21. Dillon Hunt
22. Mitch Drummond
23. Richie Mo’unga
Loose forward Luke Whitelock, who was called into the All Blacks squad last week, will captain the All Blacks for the first time in what is a young, exciting All Blacks team. Fourteen players from the team which played the Barbarians return to the matchday 23 and six new All Blacks have been named: Jack Goodhue is at centre, while on the reserves bench Atu Moli has been named as prop cover. Akira Ioane and Dillon Hunt are loose forward cover off the bench. Mitch Drummond is reserve halfback and Richie Mo’unga is the other reserve back.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “This is another exciting opportunity for a young, group of men to go out and experience what it’s like to wear the All Blacks jersey and deal with all the pressures that come with that. We are sure that they will represent themselves, their families and the All Blacks proudly. “Whilst Luke Whitelock is only playing his second game for the All Blacks, he was an obvious choice as captain given his experience and leadership as captain of both the Highlanders and Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup team. On behalf of the All Blacks, we’d like to congratulate Luke as well as the players who are pulling on the black jersey for the first time. It will be a proud moment for all of them.”
Hansen added: “This match was included in the Vista Northern Tour itinerary at our request to allow us to provide an extra opportunity for this group. It’ll allow us to continue to grow our depth, which will not only bode well for the here and now, but also 2019 and well beyond.
“This group has trained well and we’re looking forward to watching them play at this level. We’re expecting another boisterous crowd of 60,000 in Lyon which will create an exciting atmosphere for them and we’re all looking forward to it.”
* Luke Whitelock will become the 133nd player to captain the All Blacks. 68 players have captained the Test side while Whitelock will become the 64th to captain the side in a non-Test.
* The Lyon match does not carry Test status so Test caps aren’t awarded to those All Blacks who play in the match.
* The All Blacks have played in Lyon six times since 1964, with the last match against France in 2006 at Stade de Gerland, which the All Blacks won 47-3.
The Vista 2017 All Blacks Northern Tour
1. Barbarians 22 All Blacks 31, Saturday 4 November, Twickenham, LONDON
2. France 18 All Blacks 38 Saturday 11 November, Stade de France, PARIS
3. vs. FRANCE XV, Tuesday 14 November, Groupama Stadium, LYON Kick-off 6.55PM CET (NZT: 6.55AM, Wednesday, 15 November)
4. vs. SCOTLAND, Saturday 18 November, Murrayfield, EDINBURGH Kick-off: 5.15PM BST (NZT: 6.15AM, Sunday 19 November, NZT)
5. vs. WALES, Saturday 25 November, Millennium Stadium, CARDIFF Kick-off: 5.15PM BST (NZT: 6.15AM, Sunday 26 November, NZT)