Beauden Barrett returns as All Blacks name strong starting XV

Head coach Ian Foster reverts largely to the side that swatted Wales aside two weeks ago

Beauden Barrett starts at outhalf for New Zealand. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Beauden Barrett starts at outhalf for New Zealand. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

It is a measure of New Zealand’s intent for this Saturday’s game against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 3.15pm) that, as expected, Ian Foster has reverted to the vast bulk of the side which beat Wales a fortnight ago. In making 14 changes in personnel from last Saturday’s line-up for the scrappy 47-9 win over Italy, Beauden Barrett has been preferred to Richie Mo’unga as the starting outhalf.

Barrett will renew his partnership with TJ Perenara, while the pack is also the same which started in Cardiff. Although nine different frontrowers have been used in their three end-of-year tests so far, the Joe Moody-Codie Taylor-Nepo Laulala combination had become the frontline trio in New Zealand’s latest Rugby Championship success.

Needless to say another established and vastly experienced partnership, Brodie Retallick and captain Sam Whitelock, are reunited in the secondrow, while Ethan Blackadder and Dalton Papali’i will be either side of Ardie Savea in the backrow.

Jordie Barrett and the jet-heeled Will Jordan have been restored at fullback and right wing, with Sevu Reece the one survivor from last week as he switches across to the left wing.

The other change to the starting XV in Cardiff sees a new-look midfield. Foster has opted to restore Rieko Ioane at outside centre, where he has made six of his ten starts for the All Blacks this year, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving to inside centre.

“That’s the way we finished the Welsh game, with Anton moving in, Rieko moving to centre and Sevu on the wing. It’s a little bit of a reward for that combination,” Foster said of his new midfield pairing.

Brad Weber’s broken nose and failed HIA against Italy has led to Finlay Christie’s promotion to the bench where he is joined by Mo’unga and David Havili.

Dane Coles, having scored two tries in his first start of the tour last week, is on the bench, but it says everything about their loose forward resources that despite also returning last week as captain, Sam Cane misses out on the match-day ‘23’ to Akira Ioane.

“We’ve watched Ireland’s development this year with interest, particularly through the latter part of the Six Nations and last week’s big win over Japan,” Foster said. “They are certainly playing with confidence and ambition and represent a formidable challenge.

“We have no doubt what Saturday is going to bring at a full Aviva Stadium. It’s a big occasion, rugby is back to Dublin in terms of full grandstands, so we know what it’s going to mean here, and we want that kind of stage. It’s big and it’s exciting and is what motivates this team.

“We’ve had a great week here. We travelled well from Italy and are back into our more traditional routine of hitting a town and then moving onto the next one. The weather has been great here and we’ve enjoyed training in those conditions and getting ready for what will be a massive occasion on Saturday.

“We obviously have objectives we want to get out of each training session and we feel we have done that well. The guys are focussed and we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett; Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sevu Reece; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Ethan Blackadder, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Tyrel Lomax, Tupou Vaa’i, Akira Ioane, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo’unga, David Havili.

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