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All Blacks Team To Face Ireland Named With Two Players Set For Debuts

13 November 2021; New Zealand players, from left, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett and Sam Whitelock during the national anthem before the Autumn Nations Series match between Ireland and New Zealand at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

By PJ Browne

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has named two uncapped players in his matchday 23 for Saturday's first test against Ireland at Eden Park in Auckland.

Leicester Fainga’anuku gets his first All Blacks start in the number 11 jersey, while backrow Pita Gus Sowakula is set to make his debut off the bench.

30 June 2022; Assistant coach Joe Schmidt, right, and skills coach Andrew Strawbridge during New Zealand rugby squad training at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

One of the surprise selections sees Scott Barrett at blindside flanker. Barett wore the number six jersey when the All Blacks crashed out of the 2019 World Cup after a semi-final defeat to England.

"I didn’t spend too long thinking about 2019,” Fostser said about Barrett.

"We took some lessons from that, but they were learned a long time ago. On this one we were very clear about the strategy ... apart from his set piece acumen, and we know how good he is in that space, he also brings a bruising defence and a ball-carrying part to his game now.

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"In fact he’s probably our most dynamic lock/ball-carrier at the moment and I think we can utilise that at 6. If you sit down with Scott, he finds the roles (second row and blindside flanker) very similar now, except for a couple of defensive tweaks which we’ve had to make sure we tidy up."

19 October 2019; Scott Barrett of New Zealand is tackled by Josh Van der Flier of Ireland during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final match between the All Blacks and Ireland at the Tokyo Stadium in Chofu, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

All Blacks team to play Ireland

1. George Bower (11)
2. Codie Taylor (66)
3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (44)
4. Brodie Retallick (92)
5. Samuel Whitelock (132)
6. Scott Barrett (48)
7. Sam Cane (77) - Captain
8. Ardie Savea (59)
9. Aaron Smith (102)
10. Beauden Barrett (101)
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku* (0)
12. Quinn Tupaea (7)
13. Rieko Ioane (47)
14. Sevu Reece (17)
15. Jordie Barrett (36)

Replacements:

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (9)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (25)
18. Angus Ta’avao (20)
19. Pita Gus Sowakula* (0)
20. Dalton Papalii (12)
21. Finlay Christie (5)
22. Richie Mo’unga (32)
23. Braydon Ennor (4)

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The Ireland team for the first test against the All Blacks was also named overnight. It sees Keith Earls favoured over Jordan Larmour and Peter O'Mahony over Jack Conan, while Cian Healy has recovered sufficiently from an injury picked up against the Maori All Blacks to take a spot on the bench.

The first test between Ireland and the All Blacks kicks off at 8:05am on Saturday, July 2nd at Eden Park in Auckland. The second test is on July 9th at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, and the third at Sky Stadium in Wellington on July 16th. There is also a second game against the Maori All Blacks on July 12th in Wellington.

See Also: New Zealand Legend Ridiculed For Claim They 'Underdogs' Vs Andy Farrell's Sie

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