19 Sep 2019

Rugby World Cup: All Blacks team named to take on South Africa

2:44 pm on 19 September 2019

The All Blacks have named their match day 23 for their Rugby World Cup opener against South Africa with Ryan Crotty starting at second five and Sonny Bill Williams on the bench.

All Blacks midfielder Ryan Crotty on the burst in the side's big win over Tonga.

Ryan Crotty will start in the number 12 jersey for the All Blacks against South Africa. Photo: Photosport

There is only one change to the side that played the second Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia last month - Scott Barrett will start at lock in place of Patrick Tuipulotu.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "Any combination of players in our squad could have justified their selection. But in the end we believe the 23 we have selected is the right group for this opposition.

"In today's rugby environment, you need to have the mindset that it's not just about who starts, it's also about what the players coming off the bench can provide. As an example, we have a great one-two punch with Dane and Codie at hooker and Aaron and TJ at halfback."

Sonny Bill Williams at an All Blacks training session.

Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: Photosport

Look at the South African team to play the All Blacks here.

In the forwards, the starting front row is made up of props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala and Coles, with impact coming off the bench from props Ofa Tuungafasi and Angus Ta'avao and Taylor.

The starting second row is Samuel Whitelock and Scott Barrett, with Patrick Tuipulotu providing support from the bench.

Ardie Savea is at 6, Sam Cane is the openside flanker and Captain Kieran Read at number eight, in what will be his 115th Test start.

Steve Hansen, coach of the All Blacks.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Loose forward Shannon Frizell is the loose forward named on the bench.

In the backline, Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara are the halfbacks, Richie Mo'unga is at 10, with Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert- Brown the starting midfield combination, with Sonny Bill Williams startng on the bench.

The back three are George Bridge and Sevu Reece on the wings and Beauden Barrett at fullback.

The matchday 23: (with Test caps in brackets)

1. Joe Moody (41)

2. Dane Coles (64)

3. Nepo Laulala (20)

4. Samuel Whitelock (112)

5. Scott Barrett (32)

6. Ardie Savea (34)

7. Sam Cane (63)

8. Kieran Read - captain (122)

9. Aaron Smith (87)

10. Richie Mo'unga (12)

11. George Bridge (5)

12. Ryan Crotty (45)

13. Anton Lienert-Brown (38)

14. Sevu Reece (3)

15. Beauden Barrett (78)

16. Codie Taylor (45)

17. Ofa Tuungafasi (30)

18. Angus Ta'avao (8)

19. Patrick Tuipulotu (25)

20. Shannon Frizell (5)

21. TJ Perenara (59)

22. Sonny Bill Williams (53)

23. Ben Smith (80)

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