The ‘edge’ Finlay Christie has over All Blacks teammate Cam Roigard
When the All Blacks open Rugby World Cup opener, Cam Roigard will watch from the sidelines of Stade de France.
It was a fairly surprising decision.
Roigard was a shining light for the All Blacks during an otherwise dark night at Twickenham a fortnight ago. New Zealand were lost for answers as the world champion Springboks ran riot.
The All Blacks were beaten, badly, as they fell to their worst-ever defeat by a margin of 35-7. But Roigard offered a glimmer of hope.
Fans wanted more, but they’ll have to wait a bit more to see Roigard in the black jersey again. Coach Foster said Christie has “a lot bit more of an edge” over his All Blacks teammate.
“Just based on the work they’ve done. We’re really confident in all three of our nines,” Foster told reporters on Thursday.
“Fin’s got probably a little bit more experience at this level than what Cam has but Cam’s doing everything right.
“Fin’s probably a strong defensive player in that space and maybe there’s a little bit more of an edge in that space in terms of experience there.
“Pretty happy with our nines at the moment.”
While there’s no room in the matchday 23 for Roigard, the All Blacks have named a near full-strength side to take on Les Bleus in Paris.
Aaron Smith will start alongside Richie Mo’unga in the halves, while Finlay Christie is among the three backs looking to provide impact off the bench.
The All Blacks won their first four Tests this year, but everything came crashing down in Twickenham.
They have an opportunity to right some wrongs against “one of the clear tournament favourites.”
“It’s a privilege to play in the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2023,” Foster said in a statement.
“What makes it extra special is playing the host nation who are a very proud and in-form tea.
“World Cups are different. The initial goal is to qualify for the quarterfinals and to do that we must build out game through the pool stage.
“That starts in game one, where we have an opportunity to compete against one of the clear tournament favourites.”
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