All Blacks coach Ian Foster has revealed his reasoning behind the selections of Beauden Barrett at fullback and Rieko Ioane at outside centre for their Bledisloe Test against Australia.
Foster’s first-ever team selection as head coach raised a few eyebrows as he surprised by picking Beauden Barrett at No 15 ahead of his brother Jordie Barrett.
Foster conceded that Jordie Barrett was the best fullback in the country at the moment, but felt the All Blacks needed to retain the Richie Mo’unga-Beauden Barrett dual playmaker combination for their opening Test of the season.
‘With this team being new, having two fantastic decision-makers is going to help drive us around the park. It’s a selection for this test,’ Foster said of the Mo’unga- Barrett combo.
‘Beauden still wants to play 10 but we also know how influential he can be at 15.
‘Probably the form 15 in the country has been Jordie. I think you’ll find him in the backfield anyway. We kind of feel we get the best of both worlds.’
Foster also discussed the decision to play Ioane in the midfield alongside Jack Goodhue instead of partnering the latter with Anton Lienert-Brown.
‘We felt he could play centre but we didn’t know how quick it was going to be,’ Foster explained.
‘He’s worked really well during the Blues campaign and committed to it. We still like him on the wing, but he’s put forward such a compelling case that he’s changed our mind, so good on him.
‘That was one of our toughest selections to be honest, the midfield. We’ve got massive faith in Anton, we know he can do a job, but it’s a bit of a reward for Rieko’s form. He’s confident, he’s running fast.’
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