All Blacks XV Head Coach Leon MacDonald has named strong team to challenge the Barbarians in their closing match at Tottenham Spur Stadium this Sunday.
Following a win against Ireland ‘A’, the side sees the return of key combinations, alongside a mix of experience and rising talent with nine All Blacks XV players set to take field for the first time.
The All Blacks XV starting front row features loosehead prop Aidan Ross, tighthead prop Tamaiti Williams and Brodie McAlister at hooker. Andrew Makalio, Finlay Brewis and Pouri Rakete-Stones will provide impact off the bench.
Josh Dickson and Captain Patrick Tuipulotu make up the locking duo, with Dominic Gardiner, Tom Christie and Luke Jacobson the loose forward trio. With Crusaders players Zach Gallagher and Christian Lio-Willie on the bench.
In the backs, the experienced combination of Chiefs duo Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie will take the field at nine and ten, alongside Alex Nankivell and Levi Aumua in the mid-field at 12 and 13. Young Chiefs half-back Cortez Ratima will provide impact off the bench.
The back three is made up of Leicester Fainga’anuku on the left wing, Bryce Heem on the right and Shaun Stevenson starting at fullback. With Josh Ioane and Bailyn Sullivan named to be injected off the bench.
All Blacks XV Head Coach Leon MacDonald said: “To go out last weekend and win against Ireland A was special, especially given it was our first match as the All Blacks XV. We need to build on that performance against the Barbarians on Sunday.”
“This is going to be an exciting and intense match, the Barbarians have a squad filled with international experience, there are a number of key players currently at the top of their game. We have kept some combinations from last week and added in new players, it has also been great to have the talented Brad Weber and Leicester Fainga’anuku join us from the All Blacks.”
“It’s going to be an incredibly proud moment for the players and their whanau, especially the players who will be wearing the All Blacks XV jersey for the first time,” added MacDonald.
The matchday 23 is as follows (Province/Super Rugby Club)
- Aidan Ross (26, Bay of Plenty / Chiefs)
- Brodie McAlister (25, Canterbury / Crusaders)
- Tamaiti Williams (22, Canterbury / Crusaders)
- Josh Dickson (27, Otago / Highlanders)
- Patrick Tuipulotu – Captain (29, Auckland / Blues)
- Dominic Gardiner (21, Canterbury / Crusaders)
- Tom Christie (24, Canterbury / Crusaders)
- Luke Jacobson (25, Waikato / Chiefs)
- Brad Weber (31, Hawke’s Bay / Chiefs)
- Damian McKenzie (27, Waikato / Chiefs)
- Leicester Fainga’anuku (23, Tasman / Crusaders)
- Alex Nankivell (26, Tasman / Chiefs)
- Levi Aumua (28, Tasman / Moana Pasifika)
- Bryce Heem (33, Auckland / Blues)
- Shaun Stevenson (25, North Harbour / Chiefs)
- Andrew Makalio (30, Tasman / Highlanders)
- Finlay Brewis (22, Canterbury / Crusaders)
- Pouri Rakete-Stones (27, Hawke's Bay / Hurricanes)
- Zach Gallagher (21, Canterbury / Crusaders)
- Christian Lio-Willie (24, Otago / Crusaders)
- Cortez Ratima (21, Waikato / Chiefs)
- Josh Ioane (27, Otago / Chiefs)
- Bailyn Sullivan (24, Waikato / Hurricanes)