All Blacks team named for second Steinlager Series Test against France
The All Blacks selectors have named the team to play the second Steinlager Series Test against France at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday 16 June.
The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (32)
2. Codie Taylor (30)
3. Owen Franks (96)
4. Samuel Whitelock (97) – captain
5. Scott Barrett (17)
6. Liam Squire (16)
7. Sam Cane (54)
8. Luke Whitelock (3)
9. Aaron Smith (72)
10. Beauden Barrett (63)
11. Rieko Ioane (14)
12. Ryan Crotty (33)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (23)
14. Ben Smith (65)
15. Jordie Barrett (3)
16. Nathan Harris (12)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (1)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (15)
19. Vaea Fifita (6)
20. Ardie Savea (23)
21. TJ Perenara (43)
22. Damian McKenzie (13)
23. Ngani Laumape (5)
The matchday 23 is unchanged from the one that beat France 52-11 in the opening Steinlager Series Test in Auckland last weekend.
In explaining the unchanged selection, All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “As we have a big focus right now on developing our game and working on our skillsets, connections and combinations, it isn’t beneficial to be making wholesale changes, if any at all, to the playing 23.
“Whilst we were really happy with the way we finished last weekend’s Test, we’re fully aware that we still have a lot of work to do over the rest of the Steinlager Series.
“The French would’ve taken a lot of confidence out of their first 50 minutes on the weekend and will be coming to play on Saturday night. Therefore, it will require us to raise our game to an even higher level.
“Rather than being inhibited by this, we’ll be embracing and walking towards the challenge. We’ll be looking to play our own high-energy game with real intent. When it comes to our performance, we know there are high expectations from our fans. This, in turn, demands that we drive our own expectations even higher.
Steve Hansen said the All Blacks were excited to be playing another Test match in the capital.
“The team loves the Test match atmosphere in Wellington and we’re looking forward to Saturday night. On behalf of the team I want to thank all our fans for their ongoing support.”
Facts and stats
- Captain Samuel Whitelock (97) and Owen Franks (96) are each closing in on a century of Tests. Whitelock is the most capped All Blacks lock of all time and eighth on the list of most capped All Blacks, while Franks is the second most capped prop behind Tony Woodcock (118). Franks has played the French 10 times, while Whitelock has played them nine times.
- Ben Smith scored his 30th Test try on the weekend and has the highest tally of the current squad. He is 11th on the All Blacks try-scoring list behind Doug Howett (49), Julian Savea, Christian Cullen and Joe Rokocoko (46), Jeff Wilson (44), Jonah Lomu (37), Tana Umaga (36), John Kirwan (35), Mils Muliaina (34) and Ma’a Nonu (31).
- The All Blacks and France have a rivalry which extends back to 1906. They have played 59 times, with the All Blacks winning 46 times and the French 12. France have visited New Zealand 12 times (excluding RWCs), with the last tour in 2013.
1. All Blacks 52 France 11. Saturday 9 June, 7.35PM, Eden Park, AUCKLAND
2. vs. FRANCE. Saturday 16 June, 7.35PM, Westpac Stadium, WELLINGTON
3. vs. FRANCE. Saturday 23 June, 7.35PM, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN