9 Nov 2017

Senior All Blacks players back for France test

4:58 pm on 9 November 2017

A number of the All Black senior players have returned to the starting lineup for Sunday morning's Test against France in Paris.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read

All Blacks captain Kieran Read Photo: Photosport

The matchday 23 includes 11 players from the side that beat the Barbarians in London last weekend.

Captain Kieran Read, hooker Dane Coles, lock Sam Whitelock, halfback Aaron Smith and midfielders Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty are return to bolster the lineup.

With a lack of fit loosies Vaea Fifita has been named at blindside, while Rieko Ioane is over sickness and has been named on the left wing and Damian McKenzie is at fullback.

For 6 of the squad, this will be their first game against France.

Wyatt Crockett and Matt Todd also return to the matchday 23 providing loosehead prop and loose forward cover respectively from the bench.

France rugby players

France rugby players Photo: PHOTOSPORT

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "This weekend is another opportunity for us to continue growing our standards, our game and our skillsets. If we can do that and put in a complete 80-minute game we'll go a long way to putting in a performance we can all be proud of.

"Having said that, France are an exciting team and playing France in Paris is one of the biggest challenges in rugby. While most of our players know what to expect, six of the matchday 23 haven't played the French before (Hames, Laulala, Tu'ungafasi, Fifita, Sopoaga and McKenzie) so it'll be a new experience for them and an exciting challenge for the entire squad."

The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):

1. Kane Hames (6)

2. Dane Coles (55)

3. Nepo Laulala (10)

4. Luke Romano (29)

5. Samuel Whitelock (93)

6. Vaea Fifita (3)

7. Sam Cane (50)

8. Kieran Read - captain (107)

9. Aaron Smith (68)

10. Beauden Barrett (59)

11. Rieko Ioane (10)

12. Sonny Bill Williams (43)

13. Ryan Crotty (32)

14. Waisake Naholo (15)

15. Damian McKenzie (9)

16. Codie Taylor (26)

17. Wyatt Crockett (68)

18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (11)

19. Scott Barrett (14)

20. Matt Todd (10)

21. TJ Perenara (39)

22. Lima Sopoaga (13)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (19)