5 Sep 2019

Barrett reclaims 10 jersey for Tonga test

12:01 pm on 5 September 2019

Beauden Barrett is back at first-five and Ben Smith returns to fullback in two of several changes to the All Blacks side for Saturday's Rugby World Cup warm-up test against Tonga in Hamilton.

All Blacks first-five/fullback Beauden Barrett tries to evade a tackle by Australian winger Marika Koroibete.

Photo: Photosport

Barrett has been named in the 10 jersey, with Richie Mo'unga nursing a shoulder injury.

Josh Ioane is poised to make his test debut off the bench, having been called in from outside the Rugby World Cup squad as cover.

Ben Smith replaces Barrett at fullback, with George Bridge and Sevu Reece retained on the wings.

There are a further two changes to the backline which started against Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park, with TJ Perenara getting the nod at halfback, with Aaron Smith on the bench, while Ryan Crotty will make his long-awaited return from injury in place of Sonny Bill Williams at second-five.

In the forwards, Codie Taylor has been preferred at hooker, with Liam Coltman on the bench and Dane Coles out of the 23 altogether.

Sam Cane is also missing from the matchday squad, with Matt Todd named to start at openside flanker.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says there's a real sense of excitement in the team.

"It's great to get the squad together and start preparing for what will be a great match against Tonga," Hansen said.

"We know the Rugby World Cup is just around the corner, but we are focusing on 'right here, right now'.

"The players have brought real energy into our preparations here in Hamilton and the key will be to harness that excitement and put in a skillful and clinical performance on Saturday.

"Tonga will be targeting this game in a bid to build momentum into their Rugby World Cup campaign, and so are we, as it's going to be important for both teams to head into the Tournament with confidence."

The All Blacks side to face Tonga is as follows:

1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Ardie Savea, 7. Matt Todd, 8. Kieran Read (captain), 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. George Bridge, 12. Ryan Crotty, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Sevu Reece, 15. Ben Smith, 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Ofa Tuungafasi, 18. Angus Ta'avao, 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Luke Jacobson, 21. Aaron Smith, 22. Josh Ioane & 23. Jordie Barrett.