9 Oct 2020

Three debutants in All Blacks squad to play Australia

5:08 pm on 9 October 2020

Three players are set to make their All Black debuts in Sunday's first Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies in Wellington.

All Blacks public training session, Rugby Park, Whakatane, New Zealand, Tuesday 22nd September 2020. Copyright photo: John Cowpland / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa'i, Blues number eight Hoskins Sotutu and Blues back Caleb Clarke have all been named on the bench.

Shannon Frizell starts at number at blindside flank, Richie Mo'unga is at first five with Beauden Barrett at fullback, Rieko Ioane is in the centres with Jack Goodhue and Jordie Barrett starts on the right wing.

All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said he and fellow selectors John Plumtree and Grant Fox had kept an open mind about selections.

"We really wanted to see how players adapted and fitted in and how comfortable they were coming back into the environment and so there were a number of positions that we wanted to keep an open mind about," he said.

"We're excited by the group. There's a lot of talent in there and we've got players jumping out of their skin and wanting an opportunity. It's been fantastic to come together and know at the end of the week there's a Test match. There's been a lot of hard work, but the tightness of the group and the desire and the excitement about playing an international game is right up there."

Foster is anticipating a fast, hectic, high-intensity contest from both teams.

"It's a Bledisloe series and both teams will be determined to put a marker down. For us, it's about getting our basics right and focussing on our set piece and momentum, and then letting the guys use their skillsets around the structure."

Beauden Barrett makes a break with Richie Mo'unga in support.

Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett Photo: Photosport

Sam Whitelock will play his 118th Test at lock (becoming the fourth equal most capped All Black of all time, alongside Tony Woodcock) alongside Patrick Tuipulotu, while in the loose forwards, All Blacks Captain Sam Cane is at seven, Frizell gets the nod at blindside flanker, while Ardie Savea starts at number eight.

In the backs, Aaron Smith will play his 93rd Test at halfback, with TJ Perenara providing cover off the bench in his 65th Test. Richie Mo'unga starts at ten while Jack Goodhue at 12 and Rieko Ioane in his first Test start at centre make up the midfield. Anton Lienert-Brown is midfield cover from the bench. The starting back three is Jordie Barrett on the right wing, George Bridge on the left, with Beauden Barrett at fullback

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

1. Joe Moody (46)

2. Codie Taylor (50)

3. Ofa Tuungafasi (35)

4. Patrick Tuipulotu (30)

5. Samuel Whitelock (117)

6. Shannon Frizell (9)

7. Sam Cane (68) - captain

8. Ardie Savea (44)

9. Aaron Smith (92)

10. Richie Mo'unga (17)

11. George Bridge (9)

12. Jack Goodhue (13)

13. Rieko Ioane (29)

14. Jordie Barrett (17)

15. Beauden Barrett (83)

16. Dane Coles (69)

17. Karl Tu'inukuafe (13)

18. Nepo Laulala (26)

19. Tupou Vaa'i - debut

20. Hoskins Sotutu - debut

21. TJ Perenara (64)

22. Anton Lienert-Brown (43)

23. Caleb Clarke - debut