All Blacks make 9 changes for Italy match

All Blacks perform Haka. Photo Courtesy/All Blacks.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has made nine changes in his starting XV from their 71-3 victory against Namibia for Friday’s Pool A match against Italy in Lyon.

Only Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea and Beauden Barrett retain their places, while squad captain Sam Cane returns on the bench after a back problem saw him miss their opening two pool games.

Six changes for backs

Six of the nine changes for New Zealand have come in the backline, recalling Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane and Will Jordan to the starting line-up, while Jordie Barrett will make his first appearance at RWC 2023.

In the front row, Codie Taylor returns after missing their last game, Scott Barrett comes back into the starting XV after playing 23 minutes off the bench against Namibia, while Shannon Frizell will make his first appearance at RWC 2023.

The All Blacks have four of their 12 all-time centurions in the match-day 23 in Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick.

If used off the bench, Sam Whitelock will surpass Richie McCaw as the most capped All-Black in test history in his 149th match. He trails only Alun Wyn Jones (171) as the most-capped player in world rugby. Since his debut in 2010 against Ireland, Whitelock has started in 125 of his 148 tests, earning just 23 caps off the bench.

Captain Ardie Savea is the only All-Black to have started all seven tests this year, playing all but 17 minutes of rugby in 2023.
Dalton Papali’i has hit the most rucks of any All-Black at RWC 2023 (54), including the most defensive arrivals (14) but is yet to force a penalty or win a jackal.

All Blacks squad

1 Ofa Tuungafasi
2 Codie Taylor
3 Nepo Laulala
4 Brodie Retallick
5 Scott Barrett
6 Shannon Frizell
7 Dalton Papali’i
8 Ardie Savea (c)
9 Aaron Smith
10 Richie Mo’unga
11 Mark Telea
12 Jordie Barrett
13 Rieko Ioane
14 Will Jordan
15 Beauden Barrett

16 Dane Coles
17 Tamaiti Williams
18 Tyrel Lomax
19 Samuel Whitelock
20 Sam Cane
21 Cam Roigard
22 Damian McKenzie
23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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