All Blacks team named for Test against France
The All Blacks team has been named to play France in the second match of the Vista 2017 All Blacks Northern Tour at Stade de France on Saturday 11 November 2017. (Kick-off: 8.45PM CET, NZT: 8.45AM, Sunday 12 November)
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Kane Hames (6)
2. Dane Coles (55)
3. Nepo Laulala (10)
4. Luke Romano (29)
5. Samuel Whitelock (93)
6. Vaea Fifita (3)
7. Sam Cane (50)
8. Kieran Read – captain (107)
9. Aaron Smith (68)
10. Beauden Barrett (59)
11. Rieko Ioane (10)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (43)
13. Ryan Crotty (32)
14. Waisake Naholo (15)
15. Damian McKenzie (9)
16. Codie Taylor (26)
17. Wyatt Crockett (68)
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (11)
19. Scott Barrett (14)
20. Matt Todd (10)
21. TJ Perenara (39)
22. Lima Sopoaga (13)
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (19)
The matchday 23 features 11 players from the team which played the Barbarians in London last weekend. They’ve been complemented by a group of senior All Blacks returning to the starting XV, including captain Kieran Read, hooker Dane Coles, lock Sam Whitelock, halfback Aaron Smith and midfielders Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty.
Meanwhile, Vaea Fifita has been named at blindside flanker, Rieko Ioane is back on the left wing and Damian McKenzie is at fullback. Wyatt Crockett and Matt Todd also return to the matchday 23 providing loosehead prop and loose forward cover respectively from the bench.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “This weekend is another opportunity for us to continue growing our standards, our game and our skillsets. If we can do that and put in a complete 80-minute game we’ll go a long way to putting in a performance we can all be proud of.
“Having said that, France are an exciting team and playing France in Paris is one of the biggest challenges in rugby. While most of our players know what to expect, six of the matchday 23 haven’t played the French before (Hames, Laulala, Tu’ungafasi, Fifita, Sopoaga and McKenzie) so it’ll be a new experience for them and an exciting challenge for the entire squad.”
* The All Blacks have played France 57 times since 1906, with 44 wins to the All Blacks, one draw and 12 losses. The last match between the two sides was in Paris in November last year, which the All Blacks won 24-19.
* This will be the seventh French-All Blacks Test to be played at Stade de France.
* The All Blacks matchday 23 has 789 Test caps experience, with All Blacks Captain Kieran Read the most experienced player, with Vaea Fifita playing his fourth Test.
* Read will be playing his 11th Test against France.
* Beauden Barrett will be playing his 60th Test on Saturday, joining former All Blacks Craig Dowd and Jeff Wilson on that milestone.
* The All Blacks are three tries away from scoring a record 2,000 Test tries.
The Vista 2017 All Blacks Northern Tour
1. Barbarians 22 All Blacks 31, Saturday 4 November, Twickenham, LONDON
2. vs. FRANCE, Saturday 11 November, Stade de France, PARIS
Kick-off: 8.45PM CET (NZT: 8.45AM, Sunday 12 November)
3. vs. FRANCE XV, Tuesday 14 November, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, LYON
Kick-off 6.55PM CET (NZT: 5.55AM, Wednesday, 15 November)
4. vs. SCOTLAND, Saturday 18 November, Murrayfield, EDINBURGH
Kick-off: 3.00PM BST (NZT: 3.00AM, Sunday 19 November, NZT)
5. vs. WALES, Saturday 25 November, Millennium Stadium, CARDIFF
Kick-off: 5.15PM BST (NZT: 5.15AM, Sunday 26 November, NZT)