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Sam Cane starts for the All Blacks as Sam Whitelock makes 150th Test

By Josh Raisey
Dane Coles of New Zealand celebrates with Sam Cane and Mark Telea of New Zealand after scoring his team's tenth try during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between New Zealand and Italy at Parc Olympique on September 29, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has returned to start in his first match of the World Cup against Uruguay on Thursday in Lyon.

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The flanker pulled out minutes before facing France in the opening game of the tournament, and made his return from the bench in the 96-17 demolition of Italy last Friday.

Prop Tyrel Lomax will also make his first start of the World Cup having also come on as a substitute against the Azzurri, while flanker Ethan Blackadder is set to make his tournament debut from the bench.

Having eclipsed Richie McCaw as the All Blacks’ most capped player last week, lock Sam Whitelock will pass another milestone against Uruguay as he reaches 150 caps, becoming only the second player to achieve that feat after Alun Wyn Jones.

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With only a six day turnaround from the Italy win, there are plenty of changes in the squad, with No8 Ardie Savea getting a complete rest after playing virtually every minute for the All Blacks in 2023 so far.

“We still have everything to play for and our group is preparing accordingly,” said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster. “We have plenty of respect for a Uruguay side that has showed just how good they can be in their pool games.

“It is a short turnaround from our last game against Italy but being able to play in Lyon for back-to-back games has helped with our preparation. We are confident in the direction we are heading in so it’s now about putting out another solid performance and growing our game.”

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All Blacks match day 23 (Test caps in brackets)
1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (56)
2. Codie Taylor (81)
3. Tyrel Lomax (28)
4. Samuel Whitelock (149)
5. Tupou Vaa’i (24)
6. Shannon Frizell (29)
7. Sam Cane (91)
8. Luke Jacobson (17)
9. Cam Roigard (4)
10. Richie Mo’unga (52)
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku (5)
12. Jordie Barrett (53)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (66)
14. Will Jordan (27)
15. Damian McKenzie (44)

Replacements:
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (27)
17. Tamaiti Williams (4)
18. Fletcher Newell (10)
19. Scott Barrett (65)
20. Ethan Blackadder (9)
21. Finlay Christie (18)
22. Beauden Barrett (119)
23. Caleb Clarke (19)

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