Mark Tele’a returns for All Blacks ahead of Argentina clash

All Blacks. Photo Courtesy/All Blacks

All Blacks Head coach Ian Foster has named his match-day 23 for Friday’s Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final against Argentina in Saint-Denis.

Left-wing Mark Tele’a back in the starting XV for Leicester Fainga’anuku after being dropped for disciplinary reasons for the quarter-final win over Ireland.

Sam Whitelock comes into the second row as a straight swap for Brodie Retallick, who moves to the bench where he is joined by replacement hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, as Dane Coles drops out.

There are 12 survivors in the match-day team from their RWC 2019 semi-final loss against England – Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown, Codie Taylor and captain Sam Cane.

There are five players in the match-day team who have reached a RWC final – Retallick, Smith,  Barrett and Cane in 2015, and Whitelock in 2011 and 2015. Whitelock is looking to become the first player in RWC history to reach three finals.

1 Ethan de Groot
2 Codie Taylor
3 Tyrel Lomax
4 Samuel Whitelock
5 Scott Barrett
6 Shannon Frizell
7 Sam Cane (c)
8 Ardie Savea
9 Aaron Smith
10 Richie Mo’unga
11 Mark Tele’a
12 Jordie Barrett
13 Rieko Ioane
14 Will Jordan
15 Beauden Barrett

16 Samisoni Taukei’aho
17 Tamaiti Williams
18 Fletcher Newell
19 Brodie Retallick
20 Dalton Papali’i
21 Finlay Christie
22 Damian McKenzie
23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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