24 Oct 2019

Rugby World Cup: Scott Barrett to start at blindside in semi-final

From Checkpoint, 5:09 pm on 24 October 2019

The All Blacks have made a bold call, selecting Scott Barrett ahead of Sam Cane for Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final against England in Yokohama.

As reported by RNZ, Barrett will start in the number 6 jersey, with Ardie Savea at 7 and Kieran Read at 8, pushing Cane to the bench.

It's Barrett's first ever start at blindside, and he's doing it in a World Cup semi-final.

The change also means Patrick Tuipulotu will be the reserve lock. The rest of the All Blacks team is unchanged from the quarter-final against Ireland.

Coach Steve Hansen has just wound up the press conference and says picking Barrett at blindside flanker was not a slight on Sam Caine, but a tactical move, so he didn't want to give too much away.

The build-up to the test was ignited on Monday when England coach Eddie Jones fired a volley of verbal barbs the All Blacks way including claims of spying.

Hansen says it's all part of a game being played on the sidelines, that includes reporters.

But Hansen didn't shy away from playing the same game, responding to Eddie Jones' quip that the pressure would be chasing the All Blacks down the street.

RNZ rugby reporter Joe Porter in Tokyo has the details.