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Named: All Black team to play France

The All Blacks team has been named to play France in the second match of their end of year tour at Stade de France on Saturday 11.


The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):

1. Kane Hames (6)
2. Dane Coles (55)
3. Nepo Laulala (10)
4. Luke Romano (29)
5. Samuel Whitelock (93)
6. Vaea Fifita (3)
7. Sam Cane (50)
8. Kieran Read – captain (107)
9. Aaron Smith (68)
10. Beauden Barrett (59)
11. Rieko Ioane (10)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (43)
13. Ryan Crotty (32)
14. Waisake Naholo (15)
15. Damian McKenzie (9)
16. Codie Taylor (26)
17. Wyatt Crockett (68)
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (11)
19. Scott Barrett (14)
20. Matt Todd (10)
21. TJ Perenara (39)
22. Lima Sopoaga (13)
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (19)

The matchday 23 features 11 players from the team which played the Barbarians in London last weekend. They’ve been complemented by a group of senior All Blacks returning to the starting XV, including captain Kieran Read, hooker Dane Coles, lock Sam Whitelock, halfback Aaron Smith and midfielders Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty.

Meanwhile, Vaea Fifita has been named at blindside flanker, Rieko Ioane is back on the left wing and Damian McKenzie is at fullback. Wyatt Crockett and Matt Todd also return to the matchday 23 providing loosehead prop and loose forward cover respectively from the bench.



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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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