All Blacks team named for French Test
The All Blacks team has been named to play France in the fourth and final Test of the All Blacks Vista Northern Tour at Stade de France, Paris, on Saturday 26 November (Kick-off: 9.00PM CET, 9.00AM Sunday 27 November NZT).
The matchday 23 is:
1. Joe Moody (23)
2. Dane Coles (48)
3. Owen Franks (89)
4. Brodie Retallick (59)
5. Samuel Whitelock (83)
6. Jerome Kaino (76)
7. Matt Todd (7)
8. Kieran Read – captain (96)
9. TJ Perenara (28)
10. Beauden Barrett (48)
11. Julian Savea (51)
12. Ryan Crotty (25)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (7)
14. Waisake Naholo (11)
15. Israel Dagg (60)
16. Codie Taylor (14)
17. Wyatt Crockett (57)
18. Charlie Faumuina (45)
19. Scott Barrett (3)
20. Ardie Savea (11)
21. Aaron Smith (57)
22. Aaron Cruden (46)
23. Rieko Ioane (1)
In the forwards there are just two changes to the XV which started last week’s Test against Ireland: Jerome Kaino returns to the six jersey for his sixth Test against France, while Matt Todd is at openside flanker, in for the injured Sam Cane.
In the backs, TJ Perenara has been named in the starting halfback jersey, with Aaron Smith in the replacements, while Ryan Crotty returns from injury and is in the 12 jersey, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving to centre. With Ben Smith out injured, Israel Dagg moves to fullback, with Waisake Naholo on the right wing. Rieko Ioane comes onto the bench to cover the outside backs.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “When it came to selecting this side, we had to make some changes because of injuries, but we also looked to pick the best side possible for what we think will be a titanic battle against the French.
“It was a very physical match in Dublin on the weekend so we have looked to get this week’s preparation spot on – both mentally and physically – as we know France will also be looking to impose themselves upon us come Saturday night.
“We’re excited by the unique challenge that comes with playing the French. They’ve improved immensely since the Rugby World Cup when we last played them, and we’re well aware they’ll be looking to finish their autumn season with a big performance. As we all know, they’re capable of producing wonderful rugby on their day. As always, we’re looking forward to the challenge.
Steve Hansen added: “The Test is also another opportunity for our team to experience the Northern Hemisphere style of rugby which will give this new group another chance to learn and grow. We have introduced 11 new players to the All Blacks environment this year which can only bode well for the future. ”
All Blacks vs France, Paris – key facts
* The All Blacks and France have played each other 56 times since 1906, with 43 wins to the All Blacks, 12 losses and one draw. They have played 24 times in France, 14 times in Paris and five times at Stade de France.
* Israel Dagg leads the try-scoring tally in 2016 with nine to date. Next in line are Beauden Barrett and Ben Smith with eight each. Barrett is also the only first five-eighth in international history to have scored eight tries in Test matches in a calendar year. Barrett has also converted 37 tries for the All Blacks this year – second only to Daniel Carter on 39.
* The All Blacks have scored 538 points and 77 tries this year – trailing their best of 602 points and 81 tries in 2003 and 594 points and 80 tries in 2007.
THE VISTA 2016 ALL BLACKS NORTHERN TOUR
1. All Blacks 29 v 40 Ireland . Saturday 5 November, Soldier Field, CHICAGO
2. Italy 10 v 68 All Blacks. Saturday 12 November, Stadio Olimpico, ROME
3. Ireland 9 v 21 All Blacks. Saturday 19 November, Aviva Stadium, DUBLIN
4. vs. FRANCE, Sat 26 Nov, 9.00PM CET (Sun 27 Nov, 9.00AM NZT), Stade de France, PARIS