The matchday 23 is (Test caps in brackets):
1. George Bower (5)
2. Codie Taylor (60)
3. Nepo Laulala (33)
4. Brodie Retallick (85)
5. Scott Barrett (43)
6. Akira Ioane (6)
7. Dalton Papalii (7)
8. Ardie Savea – captain (52)
9. Brad Weber (10)
10. Beauden Barrett (93)
11. Rieko Ioane (39)
12. David Havili (7)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (51)
14. Will Jordan (6)
15. Jordie Barrett (27)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (3)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (20)
18. Angus Ta’avao (18)
19. Tupou Vaa’i (4)
20. Ethan Blackadder (2)
21. TJ Perenara (70)
22. Damian McKenzie (32)
23. George Bridge (12)
There is just the one change from the starting forward pack from the Bledisloe Cup-winning Test in Auckland last month, with lock Scott Barrett coming in for Samuel Whitelock in the second row. Patrick Tuipulotu has a tight groin which sees Tupou Vaa’i come onto the bench for his first Test of 2021. Ethan Blackadder also comes onto the bench as loose forward cover. Ardie Savea will captain the All Blacks for the first time at number eight.
In the backs, Brad Weber gets his second start at halfback in his 11th Test, with TJ Perenara to provide impact off the bench. Beauden Barrett is at first five-eighth while Anton Lienert-Brown returns from injury at centre, outside David Havili. Rieko Ioane moves to the left wing, Will Jordan is on the right wing and Jordie Barrett is at fullback. Damian McKenzie and George Bridge are the other back reserves.
All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said: “We are ready, and the team is really determined to finish off this block of Tests against Australia with a top performance. We’ve had a really unique situation going into this Test, with quarantine back in New Zealand and a ‘soft’ quarantine here in Perth, but the work that has gone in preparing the players has been outstanding, so when the whistle goes on Sunday, we’ll be ready.”
Foster added: “In the forwards, we have picked a group that is most recently battle-hardened. A lot of them played in the first two Bledisloe Cup Tests, so it’s right to go with them in this Fortinet Rugby Championship Test.”
Commenting on the halfback selection, Foster said: “Brad has been with us through the Steinlager Series and coming into the Rugby Championship, we really wanted to build the nine combination, especially with Aaron not here and to complement TJ’s leadership and experience, so this is a great opportunity to put our faith in Brad to start the Test.”
Foster said the team was excited to be playing in front of a sell-out crowd in Perth this weekend.
“Perth has a great rugby culture and we know that there are a lot of Kiwis living here who will be at the game, so can’t wait to hear their support on Sunday.
“Covid has again forced so many changes this year and we especially think of cities like Dunedin and Wellington that have lost Test matches they had hoped and planned for, so it’s great to be able to celebrate having this Test match here in Perth,” he said.
Stats and facts
- The All Blacks and Australia will be playing their 173rd Test against each other. New Zealand has won 119 of those matches, Australia 45 with eight draws. The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.
- Damian McKenzie’s long-range kick in Bledisloe II was his first penalty goal for the All Blacks. He has also scored 14 tries and kicked ten conversions.
- The All Blacks have scored 46 tries in five matches so far this year and are sharing the spoils: so far 18 players have scored tries this year.
- Samuel Whitelock played in his 127th Test in Bledisloe II. He and Kieran Read are now third on the list of most Tests for the All Blacks.
All Blacks matches – Fortinet Rugby Championship
All Blacks 57 Australia 22, Saturday 14 August Eden Park, Auckland
Australia vs All Blacks, Optus Stadium, Perth, Sunday 5 September, (Kick-off: 2.00PM AWST, 6.00PM NZT)
All Blacks vs Argentina, CBUS Stadium, Gold Coast, Sunday 12 September (Kick-off: 5.05PM AEST, 7.05PM NZT)
Argentina vs All Blacks, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday 18 September (Kick-off: 5.05PM AEST, 7.05PM NZT)
All Blacks vs South Africa, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, Saturday 25 September (Kick-off: 5.05PM AEST, 7.05PM NZT)
South Africa vs All Blacks, CBUS Stadium, Gold Coast, Saturday 2 October (Kick-off: 9.05PM AEST, 11.05PM NZT)