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Star players return for All Blacks’ must-win World Cup clash with Italy

By Finn Morton
Jordie Barrett of New Zealand celebrates after winning a Rugby Championship match between Argentina Pumas and New Zealand All Blacks at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on July 08, 2023 in Mendoza, Argentina. (Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images)

With “everything to play for” against Italy on Friday night, the All Blacks have named a near full-strength team which includes returning duo Shannon Frizell and Jordie Barrett.


Tyrel Lomax and Sam Cane are also set to return from injury off the bench which is another major boost for the All Blacks ahead of a must-win clash with the Azzurri.

The All Blacks’ World Cup dream hangs in the balance. New Zealand started their campaign with a historic loss to France in Paris, and another defeat would probably send them packing.

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With the hopes of a rugby-mad nation resting on the shoulders of the 33 men in the All Blacks’ squad, coach Ian Foster has named a frighteningly strong side.

“Italy is growing in confidence after winning their first two games and they represent a massive challenge for us after coming off our bye week,” Foster said in a statement.

“We fully respect their growth over the last two years and are expecting a huge game with both teams having everything to play for.”

Along with the return of Frizell and Jordie Barrett, coach Foster has also picked Cam Roigard and Damian McKenzie on the bench.


Sam Whitelock will also surpass former captain Richie McCaw as the most capped All Black in history, should the 34-year-old come off the pine after being named on the bench.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Codei Taylor and Nepo Laulala will pack down in the front row, while Brodie Retallick and Scott Barrett have been selected as the two starting locks.

Frizell is set to return from a hamstring injury and being named at blindside, and will link up with Dalton Papali’i and captain Ardie Savea in a formidable backrow trio.

Veteran Aaron Smith and playmaker Richie Mo’unga will combine in a familiar halves pairing, and the backline will be boosted by the return of Jordie Barrett at No.12. Barrett will start alongside Rieko Ioane in the midfield.


Coach Foster has come with a powerful back three with Mark Telea’a and Will Jordan named on the left and right wings respectively, and Beauden Barrett will start at fullback.

All Blacks team to take on Italy

  1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (55)
  2. Codie Taylor (80)
  3. Nepo Laulala (51)
  4. Brodie Retallick (105)
  5. Scott Barrett (64)
  6. Shannon Frizell (28)
  7. Dalton Papali’i (28)
  8. Ardie Savea (captain) (77)
  9. Aaron Smith (121)
  10. Richie Mo’unga (51)
  11. Mark Tele’a (6)
  12. Jordie Barrett (52)
  13. Rieko Ioane (65)
  14. Will Jordan (26)
  15. Beauden Barrett (118)


  1. Dane Coles (88)
  2. Tamaiti Williams (3)
  3. Tyrel Lomax (27)
  4. Samuel Whitelock (148)
  5. Sam Cane (90)
  6. Cam Roigard (3)
  7. Damian McKenzie (43)
  8. Anton Lienert-Brown (65)


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