Experience returns to the matchday 23
The All Blacks team has been named to play South Africa in the Freedom Cup Investec Rugby Championship Test at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday 27 July. (Kick-off: 7.35PM NZT).
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):
- Joe Moody (37)
- Codie Taylor (41)
- Owen Franks (106)
- Brodie Retallick (76)
- Samuel Whitelock (108)
- Shannon Frizell (4)
- Matt Todd (17)
- Kieran Read – captain (118)
- TJ Perenara (55)
- Richie Mo’unga (9)
- Rieko Ioane (24)
- Sonny Bill Williams (51)
- Jack Goodhue (7)
- Ben Smith (77)
- Beauden Barrett (74)
- Dane Coles (61)
- Ofa Tuungafasi (27)
- Angus Ta’avao (4)
- Vaea Fifita (10)
- Dalton Papalii (2)
- Aaron Smith (83)
- Anton Lienert-Brown (34)
- George Bridge (1)
The announcement sees a wealth of experience return to the matchday 23, with Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks the starting front row, with last week’s front row of Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles and Angus Ta’avao on the bench.
Samuel Whitelock joins Brodie Retallick in the starting second row, Shannon Frizell is at blindside flanker, with Vaea Fifita moving to the bench, while Matt Todd is at seven and Captain Kieran Read at the back of the scrum. Dalton Papalii provides loose forward cover on the bench.
In the backs, TJ Perenara will start at halfback and Aaron Smith is on the bench, Beauden Barrett moves to fullback to make way for Richie Mo’unga at 10, Sonny Bill Williams returns to the All Blacks at 12, inside Jack Goodhue at centre. Rieko Ioane is on the left wing, and with Barrett at fullback, Ben Smith moves to the right wing. Anton Lienert-Brown and George Bridge are the other back reserves.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “The selectors are once again very excited with the team we’ve selected and are very much looking forward to seeing them play. The key for us this week has been to continue building on the very good groundwork we’ve put in over the last couple of weeks. Whilst we were a little rusty last week, we’re looking forward to seeing improvements in all areas of our game this week.
“It’s always an exciting occasion when we play the Springboks. We have a lot of respect for them and love playing them, as they bring many challenges to the contest. One of those challenge this week will be to not only match the physicality of the Boks, but to impose our own physicality on the game, and execute our game and our skillsets at a higher level.”
Hansen said the team was also looking forward to their first home Test of the season: “We love playing in Wellington and this is the first of only three home Tests for the team this year before the Rugby World Cup, so we’re looking forward to seeing a full house in full voice at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.”
- The All Blacks and South Africa will be playing their 98th Test against each other. New Zealand has won 58 of those matches, South Africa 36 with three draws.
- The last match between the two sides was a tight 32-30 win to the All Blacks in Pretoria in October last year. South Africa beat the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington last year.
- The All Blacks need just six more points to become the first team in Test rugby history to score 16,000 points – no other team is yet to break the 14,000 mark.
- Beauden Barrett will be playing his 75th Test match for the All Blacks and will enter the top 20 of most capped All Blacks of all time.
- Brodie Retallick will be playing his 200th first-class match this weekend.
- The All Blacks have held The Freedom Cup since 2010. They won The Rugby Championship in 2012 – 2014 and again in 2016 – 2018 (as well as a Rugby Championship “Grand Slam” in 2012 – 2013 and 2016-2017).
Investec Rugby Championship – All Blacks Tests
1. Argentina 16 AllBlacks 20, Saturday 20 July, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires
2. vs. SOUTH AFRICA. Saturday 27 July, 7.35PM, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
3. vs. AUSTRALIA. Saturday 10 August, 6.00PM (11.00PM NZT), Optus Stadium,Perth