Match details: All Blacks v Namibia, Sunday 6 October, 5.45pm NZT, Tokyo Stadium
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
Only previous match: All Blacks 58 Namibia 14 (24/09/19)
All Blacks selectors have made 13 changes to the starting 15 following a four-day turnaround between pool matches. The biggest talking point in the forwards comes in the second row where Brodie Retallick returns for his first Test since dislocating his shoulder against South Africa in July. In the backs, Jordie Barrett will start at first five-eighth for the first time while Ben Smith re-claims the number 15 jersey. Aaron Smith is the starting halfback with both Brad Weber and TJ Perenara on the bench to provide back cover.
With regular first five-eighths Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett rested for this clash, Jordie Barrett will pull on the number 10 jersey with cover provided by TJ Perenara from the bench. Although neither player has played first five-eighth at Test level, there is no questioning their skills or ability to fulfil the role. Both players are great decision-makers, boast excellent boots and are dangerous ball-runners in their own right.
There were grave fears that Brodie Retallick’s World Cup dream was over when he was helped from the field against South Africa in Wellington on July 27. The 77-Test lock has recovered quicker than expected from the dislocated shoulder he suffered on that day and will partner Sam Whitelock in the second row. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said that the return of Retallick will provide a great boost to the side. "It's great to have Brodie back. There's been some great work done by not only Brodie himself but also by the medical team. Obviously, Brodie is very excited to be in a position to pull the jersey back on."
Former Namibia captain Jacques Burger has offered some inspiring words to the Namibia side ahead of their clash with the All Blacks. “These are 15 of the greatest players in the world, but they are just human beings like we are – they bleed like we bleed. From the first kick-off, the first tackle, the first ruck, go out and do everything 100 per cent. You do have the ability. They’re not super-human. You can learn off them and maybe you can teach them a couple of things as well.”
The All Blacks only previous Test against Namibia came at the 2015 Rugby World Cup where the All Blacks won 58-14. Namibia were competitive throughout the match and crossed for a famous try to fullback Johan Deysel who is captain of their team this time around. The All Blacks have named five survivors from that match to play in Tokyo: Codie Taylor, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, TJ Perenara and Ben Smith.
The All Blacks have won 16 straight Rugby World Cup matches since losing to France in the quarterfinals of the 2007 tournament.
TEAMS (caps in brackets)
All Blacks: 1. Joe Moody (42) 2. Codie Taylor (47) 3. Nepo Laulala (22) 4. Brodie Retallick (77) 5. Samuel Whitelock - captain (114) 6. Shannon Frizell (7) 7. Sam Cane (64) 8. Ardie Savea (41) 9. Aaron Smith (88) 10. Jordie Barrett (13) 11. George Bridge (6) 12. Anton Lienert-Brown (39) 13. Jack Goodhue (10) 14. Sevu Reece (4) 15. Ben Smith (82)
Reserves: 16. Dane Coles (65) 17. Ofa Tuungafasi (32) 18. Angus Ta'avao (10) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (27) 20. Matt Todd (22) 21. Brad Weber (3) 22. T J Perenara (61) 23. Rieko Ioane (27)
Namibia: 1. Andre Rademeyer 2. Torsten George Van Jaarsveld 3. AJ De Klerk 4. PJ Van Lill 5. Tjiuee Uanivi 6. Prince Gaoseb 7. Thomasau Forbes 8. Janco Venter 9. Damian Stevens 10. Helarius Axasman Kisting 11. JC Greyling 12. Johan Deysel (capt.) 13. Justin Newman 14. Lesley Klim 15. Johan Tromp
Reserves: 16. Obert Nortje 17. Nelius Theron 18. Johannes Coetzee 19. Johan Retief 20. Adriaan Booysen 21. Eugene Jantjies 22. Darryl De La Harpe 23. Janry du Toit