Thu 22 Nov 2018 | 06:28

Beaten All Blacks keep faith with Barrett, McKenzie

Beaten All Blacks keep faith with Barrett, McKenzie
Thu 22 Nov 2018 | 06:28
Beaten All Blacks keep faith with Barrett, McKenzie
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The All Blacks will persist with a two-pronged attack against Italy on Saturday, despite coach Steve Hansen ringing the changes after last week’s loss to Ireland.

Hansen retained flyhalf Beauden Barrett and fullback Damian McKenzie in his starting line-up despite a drop in their respective RugbyPass Index scores.

The team features 11 changes from the side that ran out in Dublin, resisting calls to start the in-form Richie Mo’unga.

Instead Mo’unga stays on the bench as Hansen sticks with his strategy of using Barrett and McKenzie as dual playmakers.

The combination has failed to fire so far, with the world champions scraping to a 16-15 win over England then losing 16-9 to Ireland last week.

Hansen was confident Barrett and McKenzie, with Mo’unga as backup, would improve before next year’s World Cup in Japan.

“That’s the three guys that we see at the moment that would most likely go to the World Cup, so getting them combining, either at the beginning of the game or during the course of the game, is important,” he said.

“We haven’t got too many games left so the more we play them together, the better it will be.”

Captain Kieran Read and flank Ardie Savea were the only other starters retained after the Ireland loss as Hansen opted to give some of his big names a break in the final match of the season against Italy.

Notable selections include Jordie Barrett on the right wing and Dane Coles returning as hooker in a new-look front row also featuring Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi.

Hansen expected a strong defensive performance from Italy, saying the All Blacks could not allow them to dictate terms.

“Our goal will be to create quality set-piece ball and lightning quick ruck ball, coupled with a real accuracy in our decision-making so we can use our skillsets accordingly,” he said.

*The RugbyPass Index is giving New Zealand a 98 percent Win Likelihood for the match in Rome on Saturday.

Beaten All Blacks keep faith with Barrett, McKenzie

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ofa Tuungafasi.
Replacemnets: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Rieko Ioane.

Date: Saturday, November 24
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT; 03.00 NZ time Sunday, November 25)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

Agence France-Presse

PV: 1609


Beaten All Blacks Keep Faith With Barrett, Mckenzie - Italy | Rugby365