British Lions

Fitzpatrick: Jordie Barrett best player in NZ

2017-07-06 21:39
Jordie Barrett (Getty)

Cape Town - Jordie Barrett has played just 17 minutes of rugby for the All Blacks, but already former captain Sean Fitzpatrick believes he is the best player in New Zealand. 

The 20-year-old will start at fullback in Saturday's massive third and deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland, while Israel Dagg moves to the wing. 

It is a move that could be seen as bold given Jordie Barrett's lack of experience at international level, but Fitzpatrick, who was the captain at the 1995 World Cup, has no worries. 

"I think Jordie Barrett at 15 - the young kid at just 20-years-old - is probably the best player in New Zealand at the moment. He's also got that kicking option at goal," Fitzpatrick told Sky Sports.

All Black coach Steve Hansen, meanwhile, says that Jordie Barrett's aerial ability was a major reason for his selection, given that he is expecting the Lions to kick a lot. 

The series is tied at 1-1 and kick-off on Saturday is at 09:35.

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett; 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea; 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino; 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick; 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.

Substitutes: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Malakai Fekitoa

British and Irish Lions

15 Liam Williams (Scarlets/WAL), 14 Anthony Watson (Bath/ENG), 13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/WAL), 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens/ENG), 11 Elliot Daly (Wasps/ENG), 10 Johnny Sexton (Leinster/IRL), 9 Conor Murray (Munster/IRL), 8 Taulupe Faletau (Bath/ENG), 7 Sean O'Brien (Leinster/IRL), 6 Sam Warburton (captain, Cardiff/WAL), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/WAL), 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens/ENG), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/IRL), 2 Jamie George (Saracens/ENG), 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens/ ENG)

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens (Scarlets/WAL), 17 Jack McGrath (Leinster/IRL), 18 Kyle Sinckler(Harlequins/ENG), 19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton/ENG), 20 CJ Stander (Munster/IRL), 21 Rhys Webb (Ospreys/WAL), 22 Ben Te'o (Worcester/ENG), 23 Jack Nowell (Exeter/ENG)

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