August 15, 2019

Laulala returns to start in All Blacks test

The All Blacks team has been named to play Australia in the Bledisloe Cup Investec Challenge Test at Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday 17 August. (Kick-off: 7.35PM NZT). The side features four Gallagher Chiefs in Nepo Laulala, Sam Cane, Anton Lienert-Brown to start and Angus Ta'avao on the reserves bench.

The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (39)
2. Dane Coles (63)
3. Nepo Laulala (18)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (23)
5. Samuel Whitelock (110)
6. Ardie Savea (37)
7. Sam Cane (62)
8. Kieran Read - captain (120)
9. Aaron Smith (85)
10. Richie Mo'unga (11)
11. George Bridge (3)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (52)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (36)
14. Sevu Reece (1)
15. Beauden Barrett (76)
16. Codie Taylor (43)
17. Ofa Tuungafasi (28)
18. Angus Ta'avao (6)
19. Jackson Hemopo (4)
20. Matt Todd (19)
21. TJ Perenara (57)
22. Ngani Laumape (12)
23. Jordie Barrett (10)

In changes from the All Blacks 23 which played the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Perth, Nepo Laulala comes in for Owen Franks at tighthead prop, with Ofa Tuungafasi coming in for Atu Moli on the bench. Patrick Tuipulotu will start at lock alongside Sam Whitelock, with Jackson Hemopo coming into the 19 jersey.

In the backs, Sonny Bill Williams will start at 12, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving out to 13, replacing the injured Jack Goodhue. George Bridge and Sevu Reece come in for Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith in the 11 and 14 jerseys respectively, and Jordie Barrett comes onto the bench in the 23 jersey.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "We have worked hard this week on our game and all that comes with it. We've had a great preparation and really excited and looking forward to a massive, must-win match for the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday.

"We know that Australia will be determined and confident after their win in Perth which makes the challenge even more exciting."

Steve Hansen said the team was also looking forward to huge support in the stands on Saturday.

"It's a sellout which is fantastic, and we hope our fans are in full voice - we're always buoyed by the massive support we receive from our fans and we look forward to more of the same on Saturday night."

The All Blacks and Australia will be playing their 166th Test against each other. New Zealand has won 114 of those matches, Australia 44, with seven draws.

Limited tickets to All Blacks v Tonga at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium Waikato on September 7th are still available! Don’t miss the Rugby World Cup squad in action at a unique afternoon of test match rugby.

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Laulala returns to start in All Blacks test