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Jordie Barrett handed first All Blacks start as Julian Savea returns

By Peter Thompson
New Zealand back Jordie Barrett

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Jordie Barrett will make his first New Zealand start against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday, while Julian Savea and Ngani Laumape also come into the side for the decider at Eden Park.


Barrett will be deployed at full-back as the All Blacks look to bounce back from defeat in Wellington last weekend as Steve Hansen makes three changes to his starting line-up.

With Barrett at 15, Israel Dagg is able to move to his more natural position on the right wing instead of Rieko Ioane while Savea is recalled on the left flank in place of Waisake Naholo.

Barrett’s Hurricanes team-mate Laumape also earns his first start as the man Hansen has selected to replace the suspended Sonny Bill Williams in the centre.

The pack remains unchanged with captain Kieran Reid set to win his 100th cap in the back row with flankers Sam Cane and Jerome Kaino.

“Firstly, on behalf of the All Blacks and all of New Zealand, I’d like to congratulate ‘Reado’ on reaching the milestone of 100 Test matches,” said Hansen.


“It’s a special achievement to play just one Test, so to play 100 is a remarkable effort. His playing ability speaks for itself and inspires others, and he now joins a unique group of special All Blacks.

“We’d also like to congratulate Jordie on making his first Test start in what will be a very memorable occasion for him.

“This final match in the series is going to be a cracker. It’s the series we expected it to be, as the Lions have quality players. It now comes down to this Saturday – the winner takes all – and that’ll create its own unique pressures and it’s going to be interesting to see how both sides cope with it.

“We’ve had a good week of preparation and are very excited by the opportunity that’s ahead of us, and I’m sure the Lions are as well. We know it’ll be a physical and intense match, but just as importantly, it’ll be a game where both teams will have moments of momentum, and the ability of everyone to adapt and adjust throughout the 80 minutes will be crucial.”


New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.

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


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