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Four new caps and a surprise return in All Blacks side

Four new caps and a surprise return in All Blacks side

The All Blacks selectors have named the team to play France in the third and final Steinlager Series Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, on Saturday 23 June.

The key feature is the selection of new All Blacks Shannon Frizell in the number six jersey and Jackson Hemopo on the bench.

The tight five is unchanged, with Samuel Whitelock again named as captain.

In other forward changes, Ardie Savea gets his fourth start in the number seven jersey, while Matt Todd will provide additional impact off the bench. Liam Coltman, who made his Test debut in 2016, comes in as the reserve hooker, while Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi will again provide front row power from the bench.

In the backs, Damian McKenzie gets his first Test start in the number 10 jersey outside halfback Aaron Smith. MidfielderJack Goodhue, who played against the France XV on last year’s Northern Tour, will make his Test debut at centre, outside Sonny Bill Williams, who has made a remarkable return from injury.  The back three have been reshuffled, with Waisake Naholo coming in on the right wing, Ben Smith at fullback and Rieko Ioane on the left wing.

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TJ Perenara is reserve halfback, Richie Mo’unga, who also played the non-Test against the France XV last year, looks set to make his Test debut off the bench, while Jordie Barrett is the other back reserve.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “One of the aims of the Steinlager Series was to continue to build depth across our squad and give players opportunities. Now that we have secured the Dave Gallaher trophy and won the Series, we think this is the right time to do that.  It’s an exciting mix of players with big-match experience, newer All Blacks who are continuing to grow their game, and four players who have been named in the Test 23 for the first time. On behalf of the All Blacks, I want to congratulate Shannon, Jackson, Jack and Richie, on their selection in the Test side.

“Our focus this week has been concentrating, firstly, on getting our individual processes done well, and then working on these collectively as a team.  Another key focus has been our mental preparation, which needs to be bone deep and genuine.

“The French have proven to be a worthy opponent and very difficult to play, and we see this Test as another opportunity to improve our game.

“Once again we are looking forward to playing under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium in guaranteed good conditions.”

ALL BLACKS

1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Owen Franks, 4. Sam Whitelock (C), 5. Scott Barrett, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Ardie Savea, 8. Luke Whitelock, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Damian McKenzie, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Jack Goodhue, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Ben Smith.
Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18. Ofa Tuungafasi, 19. Jackson Hemopo, 20. Matt Todd, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Richie Mo’unga, 23. Jordie Barrett.

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Four new caps and a surprise return in All Blacks side