Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett have both been selected in New Zealand’s starting lineup for Sunday’s Bledisloe Test against the Wallabies in Wellington.
In selecting his first-ever match-day team as head coach, Ian Foster has opted to go with Mo’unga at flyhalf and Barrett at fullback.
As a result, Jordie Barrett will play on the right wing, George Bridge on the left and Rieko Ioane at outside centre with Jack Goodhue on his inside.
There are three uncapped players – wing Caleb Clarke, lock Tupou Vaa’i and loose forward Hoskins Sotutu – on the bench and the trio will make their Test debuts if they are used later in the match.
Foster said he 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 explained.
‘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.’
The match will kick off at 05:00 (SA time).
All Blacks – 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i*, 20 Hoskins Sotutu*, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Caleb Clarke*.
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