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Perofeta to start as Robertson names his first All Blacks team to play England

By Ben Smith
Head Coach Scott Robertson looks on during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at NZCIS on July 02, 2024 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Scott Robertson has named his first ever All Blacks team as they prepare to take on England in the first Test in Dunedin.

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The All Blacks squad for the July series features five rookies, however none have been named in the 23 for their potential All Black debuts this week.

Captain Scott Barrett leads the side as expected at lock alongside Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu. The only other named lock in the squad, Tupou Vaa’i provides cover from the bench.

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The front row is as expected, with Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax named to start. Asafo Aumua has been named on the bench to make his first All Blacks appearance since 2017, while Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Fletcher Newell are the reserve props.

The hotly contested backrow sees Ardie Savea named at No 8, with Dalton Papali’i and Samipeni Finau the starting flankers. Chiefs loose forward Luke Jacobson has been named in the No 20 jersey.

Veteran halfback TJ Perenara returns to the starting side after an incredible return to form with the Hurricanes following an Achilles injury. He forms the halves duo with first five-eighth Damian McKenzie.

Finlay Christie has been named as halfback cover while Beauden Barrett is named in the 23 jersey as utility.

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Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane resume their midfield partnership while two of the form wingers in Super Rugby Pacific, Sevu Reece and Mark Tele’a flank the wings.

Blues pivot Stephen Perofeta has been named at fullback in a rare start in the backfield.

England has won twice in 15 Tests on New Zealand soil, with their last victory coming in a one-off Test in 2003 in Wellington.

All Blacks team to take on England, first Test: 

15. Stephen Perofeta
14. Sevu Reece
13. Rieko Ioane
12. Jordie Barrett
11. Mark Tele’a
10. Damian McKenzie
9. TJ Perenara

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1. Ethan de Groot
2. Codie Taylor
3. Tyrel Lomax
4. Scott Barrett (c)
5. Patrick Tuipulotu
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Dalton Papali’i
8. Ardie Savea

Reserves

16. Asafo Aumua
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
18. Fletcher Newell
19. Tupou Vaa’i
20. Luke Jacobson
21. Finlay Christie
22. Anton Lienert-Brown
23. Beauden Barrett

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Comments

39 Comments
N
Nickers 17 days ago

Perofeta at Fullback is either Fozzie levels of favouritism by Leon Macdonald, or he is a better fullback than Love, Stevenson, and Barrett.

He will be under the microscope by the public, and he will be put under huge pressure positionally by an England team that has a very good high kick chase game through Mitchell, and unpredictability through Marcus Smith. If he is in the right place at the right time the ABs will win, if he gets caught out, like the ABs were in Twickenham, they could run in a number of tries as a result. Best of luck to him.

J
JD Kiwi 17 days ago

Surprised at the negativity but it comes with the territory I suppose.

It's the first test of a new era with lots of key retirements/injuries and just a week and a half with the squad.

They need all the continuity they can get this week. The changes will come soon enough.

Go black!

M
Michael 17 days ago

Fullback selection maybe should've included Ruben Love ??

T
Troy 17 days ago

Has Ian Foster left NZ rugby or is he still in the background? So much for fresh, innovative, forward thinking Razor blade decision making. The only change he's made is Perofeta to fullback, which I don't think we saw but it looks like a shuffling of the deck chairs for every where else. Eight months of waiting to get this squad, pretty underwhelming.

B
Btroy 17 days ago

Forwards coach Jason Ryan, Attack coaches MacDonald and Holland along with Defence coach Scott Hansen will all be familiar with the majority of the squad selections and how to gel them into a composed unit…and hopefully the AB’s keep on the good side of referee Nika Amashekuli…a 1 point ugly win is always better than any loss…Go the AB’s…

B
B.J. Spratt 17 days ago

Our traditional first Test slow start is a mindset. That has already changed under Razor. The Non Crusader All Blacks have just clicked how we WON 7 consecutive National Championships.

The Coaching style, Culture, Player selection, accountability and choosing the tactics that will most expose your opposition weaknesses is a winning coaching formula that has elevated Razor to All Black Coach.

Choosing a Captain and a leadership group who understand and deliver those tactics, yet can change a game plan mid game if they need to adapt to what’s in front of them is a another special asset developed by Razor.

He is a brilliant coach, who develops players and their personalities. He gives them the confidence to “express the best version of themselves”

That is why he is a very special coach.

I think we will see a “Keep the ball alive” very mobile All Black pack, with the backs receiving quick ball, that will run the English forwards off their feet.

Combine this with a very strong bench and the Poms will need their trainers to bring out oxygen bottles instead of water bottles with 15 minutes to go.

T
Tristan 17 days ago

Does anyone genuinely see Perofeta as the best fullback in NZ rugby?

G
Graham 17 days ago

Pity Ethan Blackadder has not been picked. Form he showed for the Crusaders when back, awesome. Just what you need against England who are tough.

B
Bob 17 days ago

Finau yellow card in the first 10 minutes and then a 2nd yellow just before half time. Match over.

C
Chiefs Mana 17 days ago

I expect a fairly low-risk style of footy from ABs this weekend due to short time together - I imagine they’ll try to play with less ball than the Poms and back their defense. With the growth of English game and counter attack ability, should be very interesting.

Get the job done up front and we could pile points on as the game progresses but I worry about the likes of TJ and Perofeta if we’re put under extended periods of pressure.

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