The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):
1: Atu Moli (2)
2: Liam Coltman (6)
3: Angus Ta’avao (9)
4: Patrick Tuipulotu (26)
5: Scott Barrett (32)
6: Shannon Frizell (6)
7:Matt Todd (21)
8: Kieran Read - captain (123)
9: TJ Perenara (60)
10: Richie Mo’unga (13)
11: Rieko Ioane (26)
12: Sonny Bill Williams (54)
13: Jack Goodhue (9)
14: Jordie Barrett (12)
15: Beauden Barrett (79)
16: Codie Taylor (46)
17: Ofa Tuungafasi (31)
18: Nepo Laulala (21)
19: Samuel Whitelock (113)
20: Ardie Savea (40)
21: Brad Weber (2)
22: Ryan Crotty (46)
23: Ben Smith (81)
In naming the team, All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Our aim is to win the next two Pool matches against Canada and Namibia, as well as continuing to grow our game and manage the workload across the group. With two games four days apart, it’s obvious that we need to use our whole squad.
“Whilst there’s a huge amount of energy and excitement amongst the whole team about what lies ahead, this week there has been a real focus on ourselves and our own standards,” Hansen added.
“We’ve been working hard. We know we have to keep growing our game. We’ve always been demanding of ourselves when it comes to continued improvement, and that will never change. By doing so, it allows us to have the right attitude, intent and execution.
“When it comes to our preparation, it should never be about who we are playing, but how we are preparing individually and as a team, both mentally and physically. By doing this, it means you always respect your opponent and the jersey.”
The starting front row for the Test against Canada is made up of props Atu Moli and Angus Ta’avao and hooker Liam Coltman, with support coming off the bench from Ofa Tuungafasi and Nepo Laulala and hooker Codie Taylor. Patrick Tuipulotu and Scott Barrett are the starting locks with impact off the bench in the form of Samuel Whitelock. In the loose forwards, Shannon Frizell is at number six, Matt Todd is in the seven jersey and Kieran Read will again captain the side from number eight. Ardie Savea provides loose forward cover from the bench.
In the backline, TJ Perenara starts at halfback, with Brad Weber on the bench; Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue will combine in the midfield, with Ryan Crotty providing midfield cover; while the back three sees Rieko Ioane in the 11 jersey, Jordie Barrett in 14 and Beauden Barrett again at the back in the 15 jersey. Ben Smith is outside back cover.
Hansen added: “We are looking forward to the contest with Canada. We know they’re a proud nation who are led by Tyler Ardron, a player who we respect and know very well from his time in New Zealand with the Chiefs. We are sure his attitude of not taking a backward step will be reflected throughout the whole team. That means we need to impose ourselves on the game from the very start.”
The All Blacks have spent a week in the southern city of Beppu preparing for the Canada Test.
“Our move away from Tokyo to Beppu has allowed us to refresh mentally as well as putting in some hard work on the training pitch. The whole community has been incredibly welcoming and we’ve really enjoyed being here,” Hansen said.
Stats and facts
- The All Blacks and Canada have played each other on five occasions – three times at the Rugby World Cup (1991, 2003 and 2007) while the other two times were coincidentally in RWC years (1995 and 2007).
- Kieran Read, Samuel Whitelock and Sonny Bill Williams all played against Canada in 2011.
- Sixteen players will be making their Rugby World Cup debut on Wednesday.
- Beauden Barrett has scored 634 Test match points and is closing in on former All Black and current selector Grant Fox who is third on the All Blacks all-time Test points list with 645 points.
- Barrett will be playing his 80th Test against Canada. Samuel Whitelock played his 113th Test against South Africa last week, overtaking Daniel Carter to become the All Blacks fifth most capped player of all time.
- The All Blacks have played in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural Tournament in 1987 which they won. The became the first team to win back to back titles in 2011and 2015.
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