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All Blacks make 14 changes to their starting team versus Ireland

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Matt Impey/ www.Photosport.nz)

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Ian Foster has named an All Blacks team to face Ireland this Saturday that shows 14 changes from the XV that comfortably beat Italy in last Saturday’s second game of the Autumn Nations Series in Rome. Winger Sevu Reece is the only player retained from the starting line-up in Italy to get the nod to start again in Dublin.

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The All Blacks forward pack which ran out against Wales at the end of October in the Autumn Nations has instead been recalled, with the front row consisting of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala. The second row is the experienced Samuel Whitelock, who will captain the side, and Brodie Retallick, while in the loose forwards, Ethan Blackadder is at blindside flanker, Dalton Papalii is at openside, while Ardie Savea is at No8.

In the backs, TJ Perenara is at half-back with Beauden Barrett at No10, Anton Lienert-Brown and Rieko Ioane is at centre, Reece is on the left wing, Will Jordan on the right and Jordie Barrett is at full-back.

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Finn Russell on fighting water boys, facing the Springboks and expensive watches
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Finn Russell on fighting water boys, facing the Springboks and expensive watches

Foster said: “We have had a great week here in Dublin. We travelled well from Italy and are back into our more traditional routine of hitting a town and then moving on to the next one. The weather has been great here and we have enjoyed training in those conditions and getting ready for what will be a massive occasion on Saturday.

“We obviously have objectives we want to get out of each training session and we feel we have done that well.  The guys are focused and we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”

Speaking on the changes in the starting backline, Foster said: “That is the way we finished the Welsh game, with Anton moving in, Rieko moving to centre and Sevu on the wing. It’s a little bit of a reward for that combination. We have been able to use this series of games and the time together to try different things and thought a little change there would be good for us.  We’re also pretty excited at the impact that Finlay, David and Richie will have off the bench.”

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Foster added: “We’ve watched Ireland’s development this year with interest, particularly through the latter part of the Six Nations and last week’s big win over Japan. They are certainly playing with confidence and ambition and represent a formidable challenge.

“We have no doubt what Saturday is going to bring at a full Aviva Stadium.  It’s a big occasion, rugby is back to Dublin in terms of full grandstands, so we know what it’s going to mean here, and we want that kind of stage. It’s big and it’s exciting and is what motivates this team.”

ALL BLACKS (vs Ireland, Saturday)
1. Joe Moody (55)
2. Codie Taylor (65)
3. Nepo Laulala (38)
4. Brodie Retallick (90)
5. Samuel Whitelock (130) – captain
6. Ethan Blackadder (8)
7. Dalton Papalii (11)
8. Ardie Savea (57)
9. TJ Perenara (77)
10. Beauden Barrett (100)
11. Sevu Reece (16)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (55)
13. Rieko Ioane (45)
14. Will Jordan (11)
15. Jordie Barrett (34)
Replacements:
16. Dane Coles (78)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (24)
18. Tyrel Lomax (13)
19. Tupou Vaa’i (10)
20. Akira Ioane (11)
21. Finlay Christie (5)
22. Richie Mo’unga (30)
23. David Havili (13)

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