The All Blacks team has been named to play in the historic 100th Test match against South Africa in the Fortinet Rugby Championship at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, on Saturday 25 September (Kick-off: 5.05PM AEST, 7.05PM NZT).
The matchday 23 is (Test caps in brackets):
1. Joe Moody (52)
2. Codie Taylor (62)
3. Nepo Laulala (35)
4. Brodie Retallick (87)
5. Scott Barrett (46)
6. Akira Ioane (8)
7. Ardie Savea (54) – captain
8. Luke Jacobson (9)
9. TJ Perenara (73)
10. Beauden Barrett (96)
11. George Bridge (15)
12. David Havili (9)
13. Rieko Ioane (42)
14. Will Jordan (8)
15. Jordie Barrett (30)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (6)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (22)
18. Ofa Tuungafasi (40)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (39)
20. Ethan Blackadder (5)
21. Brad Weber (12)
22. Damian McKenzie (35)
23. Quinn Tupaea (3)
In the starting front row, Joe Moody retains the number one starting jersey and Nepo Laulala is back in the number three jersey, with Codie Taylor returning at starting hooker. Props Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi, along with hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, are front row cover from the bench.
In the second row, the hugely-experienced Brodie Retallick returns alongside Scott Barrett, with Patrick Tuipulotu the reserve lock. In the loose forwards, Akira Ioane is at blindside flanker, captain Ardie Savea is at seven and Luke Jacobson at number eight. Ethan Blackadder is the loose forward impact from the bench.
In the backs, TJ Perenara is again at halfback, with Beauden Barrett back in the starting 10 jersey in his 97th Test, playing his 15th Test against South Africa. David Havili returns at second five-eighth, Rieko Ioane is again at centre and the starting back three from last week’s Test are retained, with George Bridge again on the left wing, Will Jordan on the right wing and Jordie Barrett at fullback. Halfback Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie and midfielder Quinn Tupaea are the back reserves.
All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said: “The whole team is excited at what lies ahead this weekend. The group is working hard, we have been building our performances and we’ve put ourselves in a great position to win the Fortinet Rugby Championship and that’s really exciting for the team. The fact that it is against South Africa is pretty special.”
The All Blacks are expecting a torrid battle up front, as always against the Springboks. Commenting on the forwards selection, Foster added: “It’s a tough pack to pick at the moment because there are a lot of players putting their hands up and there were some players who played well last week.”
“But we have got some very good combinations that we have worked on since the start of the Championship. It’s great to have experienced players like Joe Moody, Ofa Tuungafasi and Patrick Tuipulotu back. It has given us a great starting pack and a strong bench.”
Foster said the team was looking forward to playing in the 100th Test match, but had a narrow focus this week.
“For us, as a team, we’re trying to zone in on what we want to do in this game. We are all aware of the history and legacy of this match and respect that, but the only way we can do justice to that is to prepare well and focus on what we have to do.
“We’re excited and getting ready for what will be a huge challenge. It will be the first time a number of our guys have played South Africa so they’re excited and ready for it,” Foster said.
Stats and facts
– The 100th Test will be played in the centenary year of the famous All Blacks- Springboks rivalry. The very first Test was played at the historic Carisbrook ground in Dunedin on 13 August 1921, with the All Blacks winning 13-5 that day. The last Test match was the Pool match at RWC2019 which the All Blacks won 23-13.
– In the 99 Tests to date, the All Blacks have won 59 times, South Africa 36, with four drawn matches. The All Blacks have scored 2,050 points in that time including 225 tries while the Springboks have scored 1,577 points, including 153 tries.
– The teams will once again be playing for The Freedom Cup, which was introduced in 2004. The All Blacks have held the Cup since 2010.
– The All Blacks have scored 16,997 points in Test matches and are set to be the first international team to top 17,000 points.
– Beauden Barrett will be playing his 15th Test against South Africa and Brodie Retallick his 12th. Eight players (Akira Ioane, Luke Jacobson, David Havili, Will Jordan, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan Blackadder, Brad Weber and Quinn Tupaea) will be playing them for the first time.
For more information and to get fully immersed in the All Blacks-Springboks rivalry go to www.allblacks.com/NZLvRSA100
All Blacks matches – 2021 Fortinet Rugby Championship
All Blacks 57 Australia 22, Saturday 14 August, Eden Park, Auckland
Australia 21 All Blacks 38, Sunday 5 September, Optus Stadium, Perth
All Blacks 39 Argentina 0, Sunday 12 September, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Argentina 13 All Blacks 36, Saturday 18 September, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane,
All Blacks vs South Africa, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, Saturday 25 September
(Kick-off: 5.05PM AEST, 7.05PM NZT)
South Africa vs All Blacks, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast, Saturday 2 October
(Kick-off: 8.05PM AEST, 11.05PM NZT)
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.
QUARTERFINAL PREVIEW: All Blacks v Ireland (Rugby World Cup 2023)
Get ready for what is arguably the most anticipated quarterfinal in Rugby World Cup history as number one-ranked Ireland squares off with three-time champions, the All Blacks, for a spot in the semifinals.
MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks v Ireland, Saturday 14 October, 9pm CET, Stade de France, Paris (Sunday 15 October, 8am NZT)
Won: All Blacks 30, Ireland 5, drawn 1
Last time: All Blacks 22, Ireland 32 (16 July 2022, Sky Stadium, Wellington)
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Ireland qualified for the quarterfinals as the winners of Pool B with victories over Romania (82-8), Tonga (59-16), South Africa (13-8) and Scotland (36-14). They have now won 17 Test matches in a row. The most consecutive victories for a tier one nation stands at 18 by New Zealand (2015-2016) and England (2015-2017). The All Blacks qualified for the quarterfinals by coming second in Pool A. The team rebounded from an opening round 13-27 loss to France to beat Namibia (71-3), Italy (96-17) and Uruguay (73-0) to sew up a spot in the quarterfinals.
All BLACKS SQUAD UPDATE
With a combined 1366 Test caps worth of experience, the match day 23 will be led out by captain Sam Cane in front of 80,000 fans at Stade de France. Cane is joined by Ardie Savea and Shannon Frizell in the starting loose forward trio. It will mark the first time they have run out together since the team’s 35-20 win over South Africa in Auckland. Meanwhile, loosehead prop Ethan de Groot has returned from suspension to join Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax in the front row. Their last start together was in the team’s 38-7 win over Australia in Melbourne. After an impressive hat-trick against Namibia, Leicester Fainga’anuku has been selected on the left wing and will feature alongside Beauden Barrett and Will Jordan in the back three.
UNCHANGED IRISH STARTING FIFTEEN
Ireland coach Andy Farrell has named an unchanged starting XV for the first time at RWC 2023. The only two changes to the match-day team from last week’s victory against Scotland are on the bench, with Joe McCarthy replacing fellow second row James Ryan (injured) and Jimmy O’Brien replacing Stuart McCloskey. Johnny Sexton will play his 15th Test against the All Blacks for Ireland, and 18th overall including the British and Irish Lions. He will surpass Alun Wyn Jones (17) for most Tests by any Northern Hemisphere player against New Zealand.
Irish pivot Johnny Sexton said the side had worked on its mental game since losing to the All Blacks in the 2019 quarterfinal and had put themselves in different scenarios to prepare for knockout rugby. “Each quarterfinal or where we haven’t got through our pool, have all been different, and it’s a different group again. Each of those groups lost once,” Sexton said. “It wasn’t the same group losing quarterfinals year and year. If it was club rugby it might be different, but I don’t think we are carrying much baggage. It is a one-off game and we have got to prepare for now.”
All Blacks captain Sam Cane said the side is treating the clash against Ireland as a final. “We take confidence from the hard work that has gone into the preparation. We are going in with confidence, and it will be about executing what we have done on the training pitch out there, under massive pressure, in front of a full crowd,” Cane said. “If we are able to do that, and do it consistently, we will give ourselves a really good shot at winning.”
New Zealand have scored the most tries of any of the eight quarterfinalists with 38 tries at an average of 9.5 per game. Ireland and France are second equal with 27 tries at an average of 6.8 tries per match.
Tune into NZR+ for the pre-match live show with Jim Hamilton and special guests pitch side at Stade de France. Stream the pre-match live show for free HERE.
All Blacks (caps in brackets):
1. Ethan de Groot (19) 2. Codie Taylor (82) 3. Tyrel Lomax (29) 4. Brodie Retallick (106) 5. Scott Barrett (66) 6. Shannon Frizell (30) 7. Sam Cane (c) (92) 8. Ardie Savea (78) 9. Aaron Smith (122)
10. Richie Mo’unga (53) 11. Leicester Fainga’anuku (6) 12. Jordie Barrett (54) 13. Rieko Ioane (66) 14. Will Jordan (28) 15. Beauden Barrett (120)
Reserves: 16. Dane Coles (89) 17. Tamaiti Williams (5) 18. Fletcher Newell (11) 19. Samuel Whitelock (150) 20. Dalton Papali’i (29) 21. Finlay Christie (19) 22. Damian McKenzie (45) 23. Anton Lienert-Brown (67)
1 Andrew Porter 2 Dan Sheehan 3 Tadhg Furlong 4 Tadhg Beirne 5 Iain Henderson 6 Peter O’Mahony 7 Josh van der Flier 8 Caelan Doris 9 Jamison Gibson-Park 10 Johnny Sexton (c) 11 James Lowe 12 Bundee Aki 13 Garry Ringrose 14 Mack Hansen 15 Hugo Keenan
Reserves: 16 Ronan Kelleher 17 Dave Kilcoyne 18 Finlay Bealham 19 Joe McCarthy 20 Jack Conan 21 Conor Murray 22 Jack Crowley 23 Jimmy O’Brien