Hansen names All Blacks squad...

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Hansen names All Blacks squad for the game of the weekend


The New Zealand squad for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup against South Africa has been announced.

As expected Beauden Barrett starts at full-back with Richie Mo'unga at out-half as was the case when the sides drew 16-16 in the Rugby Championship.

Veteran hooker Dane Coles gets the nod with Cody Taylor on the bench. The back row is as expected with Savea, and Cane either side of skipper Kieren Read.

Scott will be the other Barrett brother in the starting fifteen when he packs down alongside Sam Whitelock in the enforced absence of Brodie Retallick.

The centre partnership and the wings were hot topics of debate pre-tournament. The relatively inexperienced pair of Sevu Reece and George Bridge start despite having only eight caps between them, while the 80 time-capped Ben Smith will be sprung from a fearsome bench.

Sonny Bill Williams will also be a 'finisher' as he was in the last Rugby World Cup final, with Leinard-Brown starting with Crotty in midfield.

Depth

Coach Steve Hansen is happy with the depth in his squad selection. "Any combination of players in our squad could have justified their selection.  But in the end, we believe the 23 we have selected is the right group for this opposition.

"In today's rugby environment, you need to have the mindset that it's not just about who starts, it's also about what the players coming off the bench can provide. As an example, we have a great one-two punch with Dane and Codie at hooker and Aaron and TJ at halfback."

New Zealand squad

1. Joe Moody (41)

2. Dane Coles (64)

3. Nepo Laulala (20)

4. Samuel Whitelock (112)

5. Scott Barrett (32)

6. Ardie Savea (34)

7. Sam Cane (63)

8. Kieran Read - captain (122)

9. Aaron Smith (87)

10. Richie Mo’unga (12)

11. George Bridge (5)

12. Ryan Crotty (45)

13. Anton Lienert-Brown (38)

14. Sevu Reece (3)

15. Beauden Barrett (78)

 

16. Codie Taylor (45)

17. Ofa Tuungafasi (30)

18. Angus Ta’avao (8)

19. Patrick Tuipulotu (25)

20. Shannon Frizell (5)

21. TJ Perenara (59)

22. Sonny Bill Williams (53)

23. Ben Smith (80)

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