Insufficiently recovered from a concussion, the New Zealand captain will miss the last match. Beauden Barrett is repositioned at the back.
Second row Sam Whitelock will captain New Zealand against Australia in the final deciding game of the Rugby Championship on Saturday in Auckland, while third row Sam Cane is out. The All Blacks captain failed to recover in time from the head injury that forced him off the pitch at the start of last Thursday’s 39-37 win against the Wallabies in Melbourne.
“We are fighting against a team for which we have a lot of respect and who pushed us to the end. So we learned a lot of lessons from this meeting.“, assured the coach of the All Blacks, Ian Foster.
Scott Barrett, David Havili and Quinn Tupaea will also be out through injury as New Zealand seek a win at Eden Park on Saturday that could secure them the Rugby Championship final victory.
Foster formalized the return of Ardie Savea in the third line, after the birth of his third child, alongside Dalton Papali’i and Akira Ioane. The absence of Havili and Tupaea means there will be a new partnership at center between Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane.
The All Blacks will rely on Richie Mo’unga at the opener and Beauden Barrett at fullback.
New Zealand and South Africa, who host Argentina in Durban on Saturday, are tied on 14 points at the top of the Rugby Championship standings. Australia, 3rd, has ten points.
“It looks like a final, if you look at the state of the championship there are a few unknownssaid Foster. “We just want to make sure we go out there and give our best“.
The All Blacks have not lost in Auckland since 1994 and a crowd of 47,000 is expected at Eden Park. “It’s a ground that we love and playing our last test match of the year here makes us feel good.“, he added.
The All Blacks have posted erratic results this season with four wins and four losses, but they are looking for a third straight win for their final home game of 2022.”To be honest, we haven’t been too proud of some of our performances lately and we want to improve every week.“, explained Jordie Barrett.
The starting XV : B. Barrett – Jordan, R. Ioane, J. Barrett, Clarke – (o) Mo’unga, (m) Smith – A. Savea, Papali’i, A. Ioane – Whitelock (cap), Retallick – Lomax, Taylor, of Groot.
Substitutes : Taukei’aho, Tu’ungafasi, Laulala, Vaa’i, Sotutu, Christie, Tuivasa-Sheck, Reece.
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