After their crushing 38-7 victory, the All Blacks find Australia this Saturday for the account of the Bledisloe Cup. For the occasion, Ian Foster unveiled his group of 23 on Wednesday with many surprises.
It is not the typical XV who will face the Wallabies this Saturday for the Bledisloe Cup. After a one-sided match that ended up crowning them champions of the Rugby Championship 2023, the All Blacks find the Australians with a group comprising 19 changes.
Victim of a cervical sprain and still recovering last week, the usual captain Sam Cane is back in action. Only Brodie Ratallick, Ardie Savea, Will Jordan, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Luke Jacobson keep their place. This Saturday, the bench from last week will start the game: Samison Taukei’aho and Nepo Laulala in the front row, Sam Whitelock in 5 and Anton Lienert-Brown in the center. For his part, Aaron Smith will start on the bench and gives way to Finlay Christie, associated with Damian McKenzie at the hinge.
Many executives absent
Big absent from this group, the Barrett brothers, the flanker Shannon Frizell and the opener Richie Mo’unga. Presumably Foster reserves these players for their next test match against the world champions, the South Africans, on August 25 at Twickenham. Note that three players will make their first appearance in the black tunic: the third line Samipeni Finau, the winger Shaun Stevenson and the back Dallas McLeod.
New Zealand’s starting XV : 15.Jordan; 14. Stevenson, 13. Ennor, 12. Lienert-Brown, 11. Fainga’anuku; 10. McKenzie, 9. Christie; 7. Cane (cap.), 8. Savea, 6. Finau; 5.Whitelock, 4.Retallick; 3. Laulala, 2. Taukei’aho, 1. Williams
Substitutes : 16. Coles, 17. Tu’ungafasi, 18. Newell, 19. Vaa’i, 20. Jacobson, 21. Smith, 22. Mo’unga, 23. McLeod.