Read, Barrett to mastermind hat-trick?

Double defending champions New Zealand will rely on the likes of Kieran Read and Beauden Barrett if they are to win their third World Cup title in a row. Inside the SA Rugby magazine preview of the All Blacks …

The captain

Kieran Read has won everything there is to win as an international and Super Rugby player. The powerful, athletic No 8 was part of the All Blacks side that won the World Cup in 2011 and in 2015.

More recently, he’s featured in three title-winning Super Rugby campaigns with the trend-setting Crusaders.The 33-year-old will join Toyota Verblitz in Japan at the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup.

Despite the success with the Crusaders, he hasn’t been at his best for the All Blacks this season – which is partly due to a struggle with injuries. Like Hansen, Read will be pushing for an explosive ending to this chapter of his career.

Key players

A year ago, Beauden Barrett was universally recognised as the top flyhalf in Test rugby. More recently, the All Blacks have experimented with Barrett at fullback and Crusaders star Richie Mo’unga at No 10. It remains to be seen how they will be used in Japan and whether Ben Smith – another who was the best in his position only 12 months ago – will start at fullback. Barrett, Smith and scrumhalf Aaron Smith will have key roles to play in terms of the All Blacks’ kick-chase strategy. The side boasts more stars in the pack – such as the standout lock pairing of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock – as well as a world-class finisher in Rieko Ioane out wide.

23 – Tries scored by wing Rieko Ioane in his first 26 Tests

World Cup record:

1987 – Champions

1991 – Third

1995 – Finalists

1999 – Fourth

2003 – Third

2007 – Quarter-finalists

2011 – Champions

2015 – Champions

– This is a snippet from October issue of SA Rugby Magazine that previews every team at the World Cup, now on sale!  

Photo: Dean Lewins/EPA

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