All Blacks bring back big guns for Springboks showdown
All Blacks coach Ian Foster has recalled Beauden Barrett at flyhalf and restored his big guns to the pack for the Rugby Championship Test match against SA in Townsville on Saturday.
Scott Barrett and Brodie Retallick come back into the second row for the match at North Queensland Stadium, while blindside flanker Akira Ioane and number eight Luke Jacobson return to join skipper Ardie Savea in the back row.
Hooker Codie Taylor will pack down with props Nepo Laulala and Joe Moody in an experienced front row for what is expected to be a titanic forward battle against the world champions.
Beauden Barrett has been paired with scrumhalf TJ Perenara to lead a backline featuring Rieko Ioane and David Havili in the centres and Will Jordan and George Bridge on the wings.
The third Barrett brother in the side, fullback Jordie, edged out Damian McKenzie to complete a back three which will be expected to deal with a barrage of tactical kicking from the Springboks. The All Blacks will seal a 12th title in the southern hemisphere championship with a match to spare if they secure a win on Saturday.
“We've put ourselves in a great position to win the Rugby Championship and that's really exciting for the team,” Foster said in a news release.
“That it is against SA is pretty special.”
All Blacks Team: 15-Jordie Barrett; 14-Will Jordan; 13-Rieko Ioane; 12-David Havili; 11-George Bridge; 10-Beauden Barrett; 9-TJ Perenara; 8-Luke Jacobson; 7-Ardie Savea (captain); 6-Akira Ioane; 5-Scott Barrett; 4-Brodie Retallick; 3-Nepo Laulala; 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho; 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe; 18-Ofa Tuungafasi; 19-Patrick Tuipulotu; 20-Ethan Blackadder; 21-Brad Weber; 22-Damian McKenzie; 23-Quinn Tupaea.