Mo'unga, Barrett included as Foster opts for experience in All Blacks team to defend Bledisloe Cup

International
by Christy Doran

Just as they did in their World Cup semi-final loss, playmakers Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett have been named in Ian Foster's first All Blacks side to take on the Wallabies at Sky Stadium in Wellington on Sunday.

The decision to select the playmakers in the run-on side comes as no surprise, but once again it has ramifications with New Zealand's inform fullback Jordie Barrett shifted to the right-wing to accommodate his older brother.

On the whole Foster, who served as Steve Hansen's assistant coach for eight years, has opted for experience.

All three debutants - lock Tupou Vaa'i, backrower Hoskins Sotutu and winger Caleb Clarke - will come off the bench.

Foster will square up against Dave Rennie, who won back to back titles with the Chiefs after replacing the All Blacks coach in his first two years at the New Zealand club in 2012, for the first time.

Rennie has selected four debutants in his Wallabies squad.

Unsurprisingly Ardie Savea has been named in the backrow alongside fellow onballer and captain Sam Cane.

The duo will be joined in the back-row by Shannon Frizell, who returned to form for the Highlanders in 2020.

Up front, the All Blacks are missing Brodie Retallick is the glaring omission with the former World Rugby player of the year on sabbatical in Japan.

He has been replaced in the side by Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.

"We really wanted to see how players adapted and fitted in and how comfortable they were coming back into the environment and so there were a number of positions that we wanted to keep an open mind about," Foster said.

"We're excited by the group. There's a lot of talent in there and we've got players jumping out of their skin and wanting an opportunity. It's been fantastic to come together and know at the end of the week there's a Test match. There's been a lot of hard work, but the tightness of the group and the desire and the excitement about playing an international game is right up there."

More to come.

ALL BLACKS (1-15): Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane (c), Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo'unga, George Bridge, Jack Goodhue,Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett

RESERVES: Dane Coles, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Nepo Laulala,Tupou Vaa'i, Hoskins Sotutu, TJ Perenara, Anton Lienert-Brown, Caleb Clarke