Barrett and Fifita to make All Black debuts
AUCKLAND, New Zealand-June 15: 9:02am(RNZI): Jordie Barrett and Vaea Fifita are set to make their All Black test debuts having been named in the playing squad for the side’s first test of the year against Samoa in Auckland on Friday.
The Hurricanes pair have been named in the reserves.
Fullback Ben Smith will captain the side for the first time as regular skipper Kieran Read is still recovering from injury.
The match will be a milestone for first five-eighth Beauden Barrett, who will run out in his 50th test, while midfielder Sonny Bill Williams returns in his first game since the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham.
“It’s also going to be a big night for Jordie and Vaea as they’re both likely to play a part on the night. They’ve both been in great form and we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do at this level,” said coach Steve Hansen.
“Samoa is about to kick off the qualifying stage of their Rugby World Cup campaign, so this will make them even more dangerous.
“The Samoans are always a challenge and will play with a high level of physicality and skill. At the very minimum, we will need to match that,” he said.
“This first week has been about bringing together the players from the five different Super clubs and reintroducing them to the All Blacks way. We’ve had a good week and are really looking forward to this match,” said Hansen.
The All Blacks-Samoa match kicks off at 8pm on Friday, while Tonga play Wales at 5.30pm.
The match day 23 (Test caps in brackets. * denotes new cap):
Joe Moody (24), Codie Taylor (15), Owen Franks (90), Brodie Retallick (60), Samuel Whitelock (84), Jerome Kaino (77), Sam Cane (40), Ardie Savea (12), Aaron Smith (58), Beauden Barrett (49), Julian Savea (52), Sonny Bill Williams (33), Anton Lienert-Brown (9), Israel Dagg (61), Ben Smith – captain (60),
Reserves: Nathan Harris (4), Wyatt Crockett (58), Charlie Faumuina (46), Scott Barrett (4), Vaea Fifita*, T J Perenara (29), Lima Sopoaga (6), Jordie Barrett *
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