July 04, 2024

All Blacks team named to play England in Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Series opener

All Blacks Head Coach Scott Robertson and his co-selectors, Assistant Coaches Scott Hansen, Jason Holland, Leon MacDonald and Jason Ryan have named their All Blacks team to play England in the opening match of the 2024 Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Series at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

LIVE on Sky Sport: Saturday 6 July: All Blacks vs England, 7.05PM (NZST).

All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets)

1. Ethan de Groot (22)
2. Codie Taylor (85)
3. Tyrel Lomax (32)
4. Scott Barrett (69) (Captain)
5. Patrick Tuipulotu (43)
6. Samipeni Finau (1)
7. Dalton Papali’i (32)
8. Ardie Savea (81) (Vice Captain)
9. TJ Perenara (80)
10. Damian McKenzie (47)
11. Mark Tele’a (9)
12. Jordie Barrett (57) (Vice Captain)
13. Rieko Ioane (67)
14. Sevu Reece (23)
15. Stephen Perofeta (3)

16. Asafo Aumua (6)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (57)
18. Fletcher Newell (13)
19. Tupou Vaa’i (25)
20. Luke Jacobson (18)
21. Finlay Christie (21)
22. Anton Lienert-Brown (70)
23. Beauden Barrett (123)

The 23-strong squad to play England at Forysth Barr Stadium in Dunedin will be captained for the first time by lock Scott Barrett, and features Test recalls for halfback TJ Perenara, right wing Sevu Reece, blindside flanker Samipeni Finau and fullback Stephen Perofeta.

“This was a very tough squad to pick, but we’ve selected the best 23 players to beat England on Saturday,” Robertson said. “There is a lot of excitement in the group for our first Test and we’re walking together toward this opportunity to represent New Zealand and our families in Dunedin in front of a sold out stadium. We’ve prepared well and we’re ready.”

The All Blacks squad has a collective 934 Test caps in total, including new Vice Captain’s Ardie Savea (81 caps) and Jordie Barrett (57). An experienced backline includes centre Rieko Ioane (67 caps) and halves Perenara (80) and Damian McKenzie (47).

A dynamic reserve bench is a mix of youthful energy and experience with backs Anton Lienert-Brown and Beauden Barrett bringing a combined 193 Test caps to the squad.

Perenara and Reece have both overcome serious injury setbacks to earn their respective places in the starting lineup.

At 32-years-old, Perenara is set to play his first Test in nearly two years after rupturing his Achilles during the All Blacks 25-25 draw with England in London in 2022. Reece, who was Super Rugby Pacific’s top try scorer this year, is also in line to play his first Test since 2022, after missing most of the 2023 season when he ruptured his ACL playing for the Crusaders.

Perofeta is in line to add to his three Test caps after being named at fullback, in what will also be his first Test cap since 2022, when he came off the bench against Scotland in Edinburgh.

Finau has been named to wear the No.6 jersey for what would be his second Test after debuting at Forsyth Barr Stadium in 2023 where he scored a try during the All Blacks dramatic 23-20 Bledisloe Cup win over Australia.

The opening match of the All Blacks 2024 Test season will mark the eleventh time the All Blacks and England have contested the Hillary Shield, which was introduced in 2008 to honour the legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary, and to recognise the links between the two countries.

All Blacks team named to play England in Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Series opener