Rugby

All Blacks name team to face Wallabies

2016-08-18 03:30
Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)

Wellington - Beauden Barrett has been rewarded for his impressive Super Rugby form by being named as starting flyhalf for New Zealand in the Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

It will be the first time the two sides have meet since the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 34-17 in the World Cup final at Twickenham last year when Dan Carter was in sublime form.

But with Carter now out of the Test arena there has been intense focus on who is replacement will be with Aaron Cruden starting in the first two Tests against Wales in June.

But Barrett took control for the third Test and then guided the Wellington Hurricanes to their first Super Rugby crown to win the nod over Cruden for the All Blacks most contested position.

Flanker Sam Cane has been cleared to play after suffering concussion late in the Super Rugby season but hooker Dane Coles remains sidelined with a rib injury.

Kane Hames, in the squad as injury replacement for Joe Moody, has been named on the bench and if he takes the field he will be the sixth new All Black this year as coach Steve Hansen looks to rebuild his world champion side.

"This Test match will be another stepping stone in the re-establishment of this group on the international stage and we know that Australia will throw everything at us, which is what Test rugby is all about," Hansen said when naming the side Thursday.

"With more than 800 Test caps of experience in our matchday 23, I'm confident we have the experience to deal with the challenge."

Israel Dagg retains the fullback role with Ben Smith on the wing while Julian Savea, struggling to find the form that made him a star at the World Cup last year, is on the bench.

The only area where the All Blacks lack depth is in the midfield with the midweek injury to George Moala leaving no specialist back-up for the starting centres Ryan Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa.

Hansen, however, believed it would not be a problem for a match regarded by the All Blacks as second only to the World Cup final.

"This week has been about getting our preparation and attitude dead right and, therefore, there's an expectation that this group will bring real intensity and physicality and a high level of skill execution come Saturday," he said.

"We're also playing for the Bledisloe Cup, which after the Rugby World Cup, is probably the most important trophy we play for. Both teams will be desperate to get their hands on it which will create added pressure."

The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.

Teams:

All Blacks

15. Israel Dagg, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Waisake Naholo, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read (captain), 7. Sam Cane, 6. Jerome Kaino, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Nathan Harris, 1. Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16. Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20. Ardie Savea, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Aaron Cruden, 23. Julian Savea

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Ala’alatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Rob Horne

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