Rugby Championship

All Blacks stick with Barrett-Mo'unga experiment against Wallabies

2019-08-08 17:30
Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)
Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)

Perth - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has demanded his team take their chances against the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday as he persisted with twin playmakers in their build-up to the Rugby World Cup.

Kickoff is at 11:45 SA time and the match will be broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1.

The experiment of Beauden Barrett at 15 and Richie Mo'unga at 10 was first trialled with mixed success against South Africa two weeks ago. But when naming the team on Thursday Hansen said there was now "improved clarity of roles".

Hansen made several changes to the side that drew 16-all with the Springboks, including the return of blockbusting loose forward Ardie Savea.

Savea will take the six jersey, with Hansen resisting the temptation to move skipper Kieran Read, in his 120th Test, to the side of the scrum.

Other changes see Dane Coles as the starting hooker, while Scott Barrett takes over from the injured Brodie Retallick in the middle row and Sam Cane returns as the openside flank.

In the backs, Aaron Smith will start at scrumhalf. It was noticeable in the South Africa Test, when he came on in the second half, that the Barrett partnership with Mo'unga meshed more smoothly.

Anton Lienert-Brown has the 12 jersey while Sonny Bill Williams remains in New Zealand to work on his match fitness.

Hansen said he expected his team to step up after squandering too many opportunities against South Africa, pointing to Barrett as a key link in the chain.

"We've just got to make sure we keep providing opportunities and if you looked at the footage against South Africa we did create plenty of opportunities, didn't take too many of them," he said.

"So it's now about taking the next step and taking those opportunities that we're creating from having him (Barrett) back there."

Barrett said he and Mo'unga learned a lot from each other in the last game.

"Playing alongside him, there's a great sense of calmness and that's a quality of his that rubs off on the boys in those tough moments when you just need to steady the ship and keep things simple," he said.

Although this is the final round of the Rugby Championship, it is also the first match in the annual Bledisloe Cup series against Australia which New Zealand rate as second in importance only to the World Cup. 

"Our preparation this week here in Perth has been very good. We can tell that it's 'Bledisloe One' week as there's a real sense of purpose in everything we do, and a real desire to do it well," Hansen said.

"With the extra time together, we're starting to see an improved clarity of roles out on the training park."

New Zealand's current run of holding the Bledisloe Cup dates back to 2002 and Hansen said they were "desperate and hungry" to win it again. 

"It has always been incredibly important to this team and teams before us. It's those teams, ourselves, our country and our many fans that inspire and drive us to want to go out and re-take the trophy," he said. 

"We've never felt that it's about going out and 'retaining' the Cup because it's always been about earning the right to have it."

Teams:

Australia

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 James O'Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Folau Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks

New Zealand

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 George Bridge

 

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