Ioane, Jordan set for All Blacks debuts

Akira Ioane is one of four players set to make their All Blacks debut as coach Ian Foster has rung the changes for their match against the Wallabies on Saturday.

The All Blacks have named a rotated side to face the Wallabies in the second Tri-Nations and fourth and final Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.

Four players have been named in a Test team for the first time. In an eagerly awaited Test debut, loose forward Akira Ioane, who first pulled on the black jersey in a non-Test on the All Blacks’ 2017 northern-hemisphere tour, will start in the six jersey.

The other three debutants have been named among the substitutes: hooker Asafo Aumua, who also played two non-Tests on the same 2017 tour, 20-year-old loose forward Cullen Grace and 22-year-old outside back Will Jordan, who starred for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

It will also be a special match for Sam Whitelock, who is set to make his 100th start for the All Blacks in his 120th Test, becoming just the fifth player to start in a century of Tests for the All Blacks.

There are a number of other changes to the match-day 23 which claimed the Bledisloe Cup in Sydney last weekend.

Codie Taylor starts at hooker, while Scott Barrett starts in the second row, with Patrick Tuipulotu moving to the bench. Ardie Savea returns from paternity leave and starts in the No 8 jersey, alongside Ioane, and captain Sam Cane.

In the backline, Aaron Smith has been given the weekend off, meaning that TJ Perenara will start and Brad Weber will make his first appearance of the year off the bench.

Richie Mo’unga has also been rested, allowing Beauden Barrett to start at flyhalf, while his brother shifts from wing to fullback. Ngani Laumape will start at inside centre, with Rieko Ioane and Sevu Reece both named as the wings.

Damian McKenzie will provide backup at both flyhalf and fullback on the bench.

All Blacks – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Subs: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Cullen Grace, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Will Jordan.

Photo: MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images