5 Nov 2020

All Blacks: Barrett named at 10 with four debutants in side

1:54 pm on 5 November 2020

There are four debutants in the All Blacks side to play the Wallabies in the fourth Bledisloe Cup test on Saturday night in Brisbane, while Beauden Barrett will start at first-five.

TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett are among several All Blacks unlikely to make themselves available for the Rugby Championship in Australia.

TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett will start at halfback and first-five for the All Blacks on Saturday. Photo: Photosport

The Blues loose forward Akira Ioane, who played a non-international on the All Blacks' 2017 end of year tour, will start at blindside.

Hooker Asafo Aumua, who also played two non-Tests on the same tour, is set to make his Test debut from the bench alongside 20-year-old loose forward Cullen Grace and 22-year-old outside back Will Jordan.

Ngani Laumape starts at second-five after returning from a broken arm in last week's win over the Wallabies in Sydney.

Veteran lock Sam Whitelock, who will make his 100th Test start for New Zealand in his 120th Test, becoming just the fifth player to start in a century of Tests for the All Blacks.

There are also a number of other changes to the matchday 23 for the match which doubles as a Tri-Nations clash, after the All Blacks secured the Bledisloe Cup with for an 18th straight year with victory in Sydney last weekend.

Codie Taylor starts at hooker replacing Dane Coles, while Scott Barrett starts at lock, with Patrick Tuipulotu moving to the bench.

Ardie Savea returns to the number eight jersey, alongside Ioane, and Captain Sam Cane, with Grace coming in for Dalton Papalii as reserve loose forward.

In the backs, TJ Perenara starts at halfback, with Brad Weber to come off the bench in his first appearance of 2020.

In the outside backs, Jordie Barrett starts at fullback and Rieko Ioane starts on the left wing, with Sevu Reece also making his first start of 2020 on the right wing.

Damian McKenzie comes onto the bench.

The All Blacks coach Ian Foster said: "We have reset this week and our focus has been on this weekend and the Tri Nations. It's an All Blacks − Wallabies Test and that's special. We know how fired up they'll be, so we have to make sure we are as well, because we don't want to give ourselves any excuses at the end of it."

In making a number of changes to the squad, Foster explained: "We've been really delighted with the whole squad, so we feel that there are some players who are really putting their hand up and deserve an opportunity.

"Secondly, it's been a big three-week Test series to date against Australia; it'll be another massive Test, so we've brought in some freshness and new energy into the group. Players are jumping out of their skins to get onto the park."

Foster said the four players named to play their first Test had all been working hard and had earnt the opportunity.

"We've been really impressed with Akira. He's keen, he's ready and to have his first Test start is pretty special. I know Asafo is also excited for his first Test and he'll bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm when he comes off the bench.

"Cullen Grace is a young man who has also been very impressive. He's got a nice, quiet demeanour about him, but we know he's excited. Will Jordan has also been working really hard; he's settled in really, really well and he's got a calmness about him. He's been doing a great job behind the scenes and we're delighted he's got his opportunity."

In a unique build-up to the Test, Covid-19 protocols for the Tournament mean the All Blacks will fly from Sydney into Brisbane several hours before the game and return to Sydney post game.

Foster said the team were ready for the unusual circumstances.

"We have to change the structure of our game day preparation, but we don't have to change the approach. It's obviously going to be a different Test day for us, but it doesn't mean it's going to be disruptive. We've worked hard on getting a structure in place that we think is the right one for Saturday and just have to make sure that when the whistle goes, we are ready."

The matchday 23 is as follows (New Test caps in bold. Number of Test caps in brackets):

1. Karl Tu'inukuafe (15)

2. Codie Taylor (53)

3. Ofa Tuungafasi (38)

4. Scott Barrett (38)

5. Samuel Whitelock (119)

6. Akira Ioane *

7. Sam Cane (71) - captain

8. Ardie Savea (46)

9. TJ Perenara (67)

10. Beauden Barrett (85)

11. Rieko Ioane (31)

12. Ngani Laumape (14)

13. Anton Lienert-Brown (46)

14. Sevu Reece (7)

15. Jordie Barrett (20)

16. Asafo Aumua *

17. Alex Hodgman (2)

18. Tyrel Lomax (3)

19. Patrick Tuipulotu (33)

20. Cullen Grace *

21. Brad Weber (5)

22. Damian McKenzie (25)

23. Will Jordan *