All Blacks Name Team For Opening Round Of Rugby Championship
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named his side for the opening round of the Rugby Championship against defending champions Australia.
Ben Smith starts on the wing with Israel Dagg coming back into the side at fullback. In form outhalf, Beaden Barrett gets the coveted 10 jersey while there’s no room in the startinf XV for Julian Savea, who must make do with a spot among the replacements. Kieran Read will captain the side from 8.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said:
“The selectors are very happy with the 23 selected for this Test match and we’re looking forward to seeing them play. This Test match will be another stepping stone in the re-establishment of this group on the international stage and we know that Australia will throw everything at us, which is what Test rugby is all about. With more than 800 Test caps of experience in our matchday 23, I’m confident we have the experience to deal with the challenge.”
“This week has been about getting our preparation and attitude dead right and, therefore, there’s an expectation that this group will bring real intensity, physicality and a high level of skill execution come Saturday.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Julian Savea