It is a key game for us to get right - Foster

h 00103993 v2

Coach Ian Foster said: "It is a key game for us to get right and we've selected accordingly."

Caleb Clarke and Leicester Fainga'anuku will start on the wings while Anton Lienert-Brown has moved to centre with David Havili at second five-eighths. Damian McKenzie is at first five-eighths and paired with halfback Cam Roigard. Ofa Tu'ungafasi will start at loosehead prop, with Samisoni Taukei'aho at hooker. Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock will be paired at lock. Luke Jacobson will play on the blindside flank.

Foster said the team was not experimental.

"We have got a couple of areas we want to focus on and I'm probably not going to share what they are just yet. You have to make sure you grow your game. You've got to get your performance right and be forward looking."

He said they want McKenzie to run the game how they want to play it.

"I'm sure he will. He has trained really well, he's keen and he's very clear about what we want to achieve."


The game will mark Sam Whitelock sharing former captain Richie McCaw's record of 148 Test matches.

Foster said: "It's a massive occasion for Sam and us as a team. He has been a warrior for this team for a long time, and to equal someone like Richie is a massive achievement.

"We all know how much it means for him to pull on a black jersey and to do it for the 148th time is a very special occasion, one that we will make sure we put a performance on that gives that record a lot of respect and celebrate it with him afterwards. It's a great honour what he is achieving."

Ardie Savea will captain the side again from No8 while Dalton Papali'i starts on the openside flank. Sam Cane was still not ready for selection.

"He's progressing well but probably not as close as we would have liked to be fit on Friday.

"With Jordie [Barrett], it's a knee that is not too bad, it's just the jarring that irritates it. So, we have had the opportunity to take him out this week and really not try to even test it. We will be doing that next week in Bordeaux. He has been behaving himself really well. I thought he would get impatient being Jordie Barrett but he has been doing good."

All Blacks v Namibia: Saturday 16 September, 7am NZT (Friday 15 September, 9pm CEST). Live on Sky Sport.

LATEST NEWS

View all