Rugby Championship News

Barrett starts for All Blacks in Rugby Championship opener




The All Blacks have named their team to play Australia’s Wallabies in the Rugby Championship Bledisloe Cup opening match with Beauden Barrett starting at ten.

Barrett has been named in the starting line up with Aaron Cruden on the replacements bench.

In the front row Hurricanes captain Dane Coles has not regained full fitness from the rib injury he sustained in the Super Rugby quarter final so Nathan Harris is named in the starting line up with Codie Taylor as reserve hooker.

Twenty-seven-year-old Tasman and Chiefs prop Kane Hames came into the All Blacks squad as an injury replacement for Joe Moody and will become the sixth new All Black of 2016 and All Black number 1152 if he takes the field, as expected, off the bench on Saturday.

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.”

Hansen added: “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 and physicality and a high level of skill execution come Saturday.

“We’re all really excited about this first Investec Rugby Championship Test match. It’s against one of our most respected rivals and the Championship itself is one of the best competitions in the world. It produces an exciting brand of rugby and world-class players, which both teams have.

“We’re also playing for the Bledisloe Cup, which after the Rugby World Cup, is probably the most important trophy we play for. Both teams will be desperate to get their hands on it which will create added pressure. It’s about embracing that pressure and taking it on. Our attitude has always been – and still is – that we don’t hold the Bledisloe Cup by right; we have to go out and earn the right to take it. As a group we’re really looking forward to this challenge on Saturday.”

Jerome Kaino will play his 70th Test match on Saturday. He is the most capped blindside flanker of all time.

The All Blacks are 2/7 to win the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand

1. Wyatt Crockett , 2. Nathan Harris , 3. Owen Franks, 4. Brodie Retallick , 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Sam Cane , 8. Kieran Read (c), 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Beauden Barrett , 11. Waisake Naholo , 12. Ryan Crotty, 13. Malakai Fekitoa , 14. Ben Smith , 15. Israel Dagg ,

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

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