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Thursday Jul 27, 2023

Ardie Savea captains new look All Blacks in Bledisloe Cup clash

Backrow star Ardie Savea will lead the All Blacks for the fifth time this weekend at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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Head coach Ian Foster and selectors Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt’s decision to name Savea as captain come in the wake of an injury to regular captain Sam Cane.

Cane will miss the clash with a neck strain in his absence Blues backrow Dalton Papali’i come into the starting line-up at number seven.

Outside of this change, the line-up from the team that defeated the Springboks in Auckland remains the same.

On the bench, experienced duo Sam Whitelock and Anton Lienart Brown return. Joining them is young talent Cam Roigard who is in line to make his debut should he come on at halfback.

Saturday’s clash will be the first time since 2007 that the All Blacks have played at the MCG.

Speaking at the team naming, head coach Ian Foster said his squad were excited at the prospect of playing at a full MCG with 80,000 fans expected to be in attendance.

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“This is a special Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test, which doubles as the opening Bledisloe Cup clash of the year. This trophy means so much to both countries, and we expect a massive challenge on Saturday.

“As the final Rugby Championship Test, there is much at stake in this game.

“We have learned a lot from two stern Tests so far this year, and there is huge excitement about playing Australia at this iconic ground.”

All Blacks Team

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1. Ethan de Groot (15)
2. Codie Taylor (78)
3. Tyrel Lomax (25)
4. Brodie Retallick (101)
5. Scott Barrett (60)
6. Shannon Frizell (27)
7. Dalton Papali’i (24)
8. Ardie Savea (72 – captain)
9. Aaron Smith (116)
10. Richie Mo’unga (46)
11. Mark Telea (3)
12. Jordie Barrett (50)
13. Rieko Ioane (61)
14. Will Jordan (22)
15. Beauden Barrett (114)

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (22)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (51)
18. Nepo Laulala (47)
19. Samuel Whitelock (143)
20. Luke Jacobson (12)
21. Cam Roigard *
22. Anton Lienert-Brown (60)
23. Caleb Clarke (17)

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