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'We're aware of the history': Foster names strongest available side for All Blacks clash with Boks

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23rd September, 2021
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After resting key men during two wins over Argentina, the All Blacks have named a strong team for the historic 100th Test against South Africa in Townsville on Saturday.

Beauden Barrett returns at No.10 for his 97th Test and will play alongside TJ Perenara.

David Havili returns at inside centre, Rieko Ioane at No.13 and the starting back three from last week’s Test are retained, with George Bridge on the left wing, Will Jordan on the right and Jordie Barrett at fullback. Halfback Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie and midfielder Quinn Tupaea are the back reserves.

Joe Moody retains the number one jersey while Nepo Laulala returns at No.3 and Codie Taylor returning at starting hooker. Props Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi, along with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, are front row cover from the bench.

In the second row, Brodie Retallick is back alongside Scott Barrett, with Patrick Tuipulotu the reserve lock. In the loose forwards, Akira Ioane is at blindside flanker, captain Ardie Savea is at seven and Luke Jacobson at number eight. Ethan Blackadder is the loose forward impact from the bench.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster said in a statement: “The whole team is excited at what lies ahead this weekend. The group is working hard, we have been building our performances and we’ve put ourselves in a great position to win the Fortinet Rugby Championship and that’s really exciting for the team. The fact that it is against South Africa is pretty special.

“It’s a tough pack to pick at the moment because there are a lot of players putting their hands up and there were some players who played well last week.”

“But we have got some very good combinations that we have worked on since the start of the Championship. It’s great to have experienced players like Joe Moody, Ofa Tuungafasi and Patrick Tuipulotu back. It has given us a great starting pack and a strong bench.

“For us, as a team, we’re trying to zone in on what we want to do in this game. We are all aware of the history and legacy of this match and respect that, but the only way we can do justice to that is to prepare well and focus on what we have to do.

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“We’re excited and getting ready for what will be a huge challenge. It will be the first time a number of our guys have played South Africa so they’re excited and ready for it,” Foster said.

South Africa named their squad on Tuesday.

All Blacks squad

1. Joe Moody (52)
2. Codie Taylor (62)
3. Nepo Laulala (35)
4. Brodie Retallick (87)
5. Scott Barrett (46)
6. Akira Ioane (8)
7. Ardie Savea (54) – captain
8. Luke Jacobson (9)
9. TJ Perenara (73)
10. Beauden Barrett (96)
11. George Bridge (15)
12. David Havili (9)
13. Rieko Ioane (42)
14. Will Jordan (8)
15. Jordie Barrett (30)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (6)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (22)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (40)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (39)
20. Ethan Blackadder (5)
21. Brad Weber (12)
22. Damian McKenzie (35)
23. Quinn Tupaea (3)

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