Rugby

The All-Blacks Have Named Their Team For The First Lions Test

The All-Blacks Have Named Their Team For The First Lions Test

New Zealand have shown their hand by naming their starting XV for the first Test on Saturday.

Captain Kieran Read returns to earn his 97th cap for the All-Blacks, who also name Rieko Ioane ahead of Julian Savea at left wing.

The team in full:

1. Joe Moody
2. Codie Taylor
3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Samuel Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Sam Cane
8. Kieran Read

Backs:
9. Aaron Smith
10. Beauden Barrett
11. Rieko Ioane
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Ryan Crotty
14. Israel Dagg
15. Ben Smith

Ioane is the real bolter, having already played the Lions twice on this tour. He played a major part of the Chiefs victory over the tourists but had a less noteworthy game against them for the Maori All Blacks.

Steve Hansen obviously saw enough in the winger to hand him a major debut. He explained his decision to allblacks.com:

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This was a really tough team to pick because there were a number of players in great form vying for positions. But in the end the three selectors felt this was the best combination to take on the Lions in the first Test.

I'd also like to congratulate Rieko on getting his first start for the All Blacks. His outstanding form throughout the season this year, including against the Lions, has earned him his start on the wing

We know this is a very good British and Irish Lions team; probably one of the best to have toured here. It'll be a battle of contrasting styles which makes it an intriguing Test to prepare for and to be part of.

The first Test kicks off at 8:35 at Eden Park and is live on Sky.

The Lions are set to name their squad at around 8pm tonight.

SEE ALSO: Quiz: Name Every Irishman To Have Captained The Lions In The Pro Era

David Kent

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