Barrett, Laumape earn surprise starts in Auckland

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The All Blacks have sprung a pair of surprises to cover the absence of injured stars Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty - Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape named in the starting XV.

Barrett will play fullback - pushing Ben Smith to the wing Ioane vacated - a serious nod for the 21-year-old after Hurricanes teammate Nehe Milner-Skudder was widely tipped to slot straight onto the wing.

Anton Lienert-Brown was the man most were tipping to line up at No. 12 in place of Crotty but Laumape has leapfrogged the Chiefs star and will form a very fresh centre pairing alongside Jack Goodhue.

The starting XV is otherwise the same - Hansen opting for stability as the Kiwis strive to secure the Bledisloe for another year.

The match will carry extra weight for veteran prop Owen Franks, who will become the latest All Black centurion when he runs out on Saturday.Ngani Laumape will start at inside centre. Photo: Getty Images"We know that there will be a massive response from Australia following their performance last week," coach Steve Hansen said.

"Not only are we excited by this challenge, but we're looking forward to responding ourselves with a better performance.

"Our preparation this week has been all about getting ready to do that.

"We'll be looking to execute to an even higher level and play at an intensity that will challenge ourselves and our opponent."

The All Blacks host the Wallabies at Eden Park on Saturday, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, 7:35pm local, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Channel Ten, RADIO and Macquarie Sports Radio.


IN: Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett

OUT: Ryan Crotty (concussion), Rieko Ioane

All Blacks team to face the Wallabies in Auckland

1. Joe Moody

2. Codie Taylor

3. Owen Franks

4. Brodie Retallick

5. Sam Whitelock

6. Liam Squire

7. Sam Cane

8. Kieran Read

9. Aaron Smith

10. Beauden Barrett

11. Waisake Naholo

12. Ngani Laumape

13. Jack Goodhue

14. Ben Smith

15. Jordie Barrett


16. Nathan Harris

17. Karl Tuinukuafe

18. Ofa Tuungafasi

19. Scott Barrett

20. Ardie Savea

21. TJ Perenara

22. Damian McKenzie

23. Anton Lienert-Brown