VIDEO: Retallick returns, Jordie at No.10 for All Blacks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Jordie Barrett will start at flyhalf for the All Blacks and lock Brodie Retallick returns from a 10-week injury lay-off for Sunday’s World Cup match against Namibia in Tokyo.
Ben Smith has been restored as fullback and all three scrumhalves feature in the matchday 23 as coach Steve Hansen works to keep his entire 31-man squad match-fit to cover all eventualities in the knockout stages.
Only Barrett, Jack Goodhue and Shannon Frizell are backing up from the side that started in the 63-0 win over Canada four days ago.
The versatile Jordie Barrett, 22, the youngest of the three All Blacks brothers, will start in the No10 jersey for the first time in a Test although he has slotted in as first receiver at times in his previous 13 Tests.
“Jordie can play multiple positions in the backline and we’re confident that he’ll handle the responsibility well. He has all the skill sets required and we’re looking forward to seeing him play there,” Hansen said.
With the twin playmaker pair Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga being rested for the match, scrumhalf TJ Perenara will provide back-up for Jordie Barrett off the bench while Brad Weber will cover Aaron Smith who starts in the nine jersey.
It also allows Ben Smith to return to his favoured fullback role after being pushed aside in recent Tests to make way for the Beauden Barrett-Mo’unga partnership.
Towering lock Retallick returns after being sidelined with a dislocated shoulder since the All Blacks’ Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in late July.
He is reunited in the second row with regular partner Sam Whitelock, who will captain the side while Kieran Read is rested.
“It’s great to have Brodie back,” Hansen said.
“There’s been some great work done by not only Brodie himself but also by the medical team. Obviously, Brodie is very excited to be in a position to pull the jersey back on.
“In naming this team, we had to consider the short turnaround between the Canadian and Namibian games. We’ve managed to ensure that we’ve got plenty of fresh players starting this match.
“Our preparation on-field this week is all about getting the balance right over the next two days. It’s a case of not too much and not too little, from a physical point of view.”
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Jordie Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Brad Weber, 22 TJ Perenara, 23 Rieko Ioane.
Date: Sunday. October 6
Venue: Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 13.45 (04.45 GMT, 06.45 Namibia time; 17.45 NZ time)
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)