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All Blacks bring in powerhouse wing for Bok clash

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has unveiled the matchday 23 for their opening Rugby Championship Test against South Africa at Mbombela Stadium.


Samisoni Taukei’aho has been named in the run-on side at hooker, alongside tighthead prop Angus Ta’avao in a new-look front row.

New faces make up the front-row cover, with Tyrel Lomax and Ethan de Groot named for the first time in the 2022 international season.

The tight five welcome back lock Scott Barrett from injury, while Akira Ioane retains his spot at blindside flank in the loose forward trio, alongside captain Sam Cane and Ardie Savea.

Another feature of the run-on side is the return of wing Caleb Clarke. Ruled out of the Ireland series due to injury, the 23-year-old will play in his first All Blacks Test since 2020.

“What a great way to start this year’s Rugby Championship. It’s always an exciting tournament to be part of,” Foster said.

“This year’s draw means we have a massive challenge of two games here in South Africa.


“We have settled in well in Mbombela and are preparing for what is always an intense game against our old foe.

“Many of our squad are here in South Africa for the first time. This gives us another opportunity to add new experiences and grow our game.”

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samson Taukei’aho, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Quinn Tupaea.

Date: Saturday, August 6
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit.
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT; 03.05 Sunday, August 7 NZ time)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England) & Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)


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