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Foster opts for new captain to face Namibia

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: All Blacks coach Ian Foster has named Ardie Savea as captain to lead the side in their second World Cup pool game to face Namibia in Stadium de Toulouse on Friday evening.

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Savea’s selection as captain is due to the team taking a precautionary approach to Sam Cane’s back injury.

Lock Samuel Whitelock has been named for what will be his 148th All Blacks Test, equalling Richie McCaw as the most-capped player in the team’s history. Joined in the second row by Brodie Retallick, the pair will extend their world record as a starting lock combination to 66 Tests.

Meanwhile, Cam Roigard will also celebrate a special milestone after being given the nod to make his first start in an All Blacks jersey. Roigard will don the number nine jersey with 120-Test veteran Aaron Smith on the bench.

David Havili, who made his first appearance of the season as a reserve in Paris last week, has been named in the number 12 jersey alongside midfield partner Anton Lienert-Brown.

“We are expecting a very tough Namibian side to test us on Friday,” said All Blacks coach Ian Foster.

“Whilst we were disappointed with the result in the first round, it hasn’t moved our focus from what we need to do in our pool games. This game is vital for us to grow and we can’t wait to get to Toulouse and test ourselves.”

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The All Blacks and Namibia have played each other twice before, with both fixtures taking place at the World Cup.

In 2015 the sides met at Olympic Stadium in London, where the result was 58-14 in favour of the All Blacks. Four years later in Japan, Namibia fell 9-71.

All Blacks: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cam Roigard, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Tupou Vaa’i, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Rieko Ioane

Date: Friday, September 15
Venue: Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT, 21.00 CAT, 07.00 Saturday September 17 NZST)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

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