Jordie Barrett misses out on All Blacks’ World Cup opener against France

All Blacks centre Jordie Barrett has failed to recover from a knee injury in time to make the opening match of the World Cup on Friday against tournament hosts France.

Anton Lienert-Brown has come in to replace Barrett in the No12 jersey, while David Havili has returned to the bench despite only playing 40 minutes of rugby since picking up a hamstring injury in May.

That is the only backline change Ian Foster has made from the side that were humbled by South Africa at Twickenham two weeks ago. The pack has been amended, however, from the side that lost to the Springboks, with some changes enforced and some not. Injured loosehead Tyrel Lomax has been replaced by Nepo Laulala, while Dalton Papali’i is set to start ahead of Luke Jacobson, who drops to the bench. Dane Coles has missed out on the matchday squad completely, with Codie Taylor starting in the No2 jersey, and Samisoni Taukei’aho offering back-up on the bench.

The unusual 6-2 split on the bench that Foster adopted for the Springboks Test has been replaced by their more familiar 5-3 split, with Finlay Christie replacing Cam Roigard and Leicester Fainga’anuku providing cover for the outside backs.

“It is a privilege to play in the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2023,” said Foster. “What makes it extra special is playing the host nation who are a very proud and in-form team.

“World Cups are different. The intitial goal is to qualify for the quarterfinals and to do that we must build our game through the pool stage. That starts in game one, where we have an opportunity to compete against one of the clear tournament favourites.”

All Blacks XV
1. Ethan de Groot
2 Codie Taylor
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Sam Whitelock
5. Scott Barrett
6. Dalton Papali’i
7. Sam Cane (captain)
8. Ardie Savea
9. Aaron Smith
10. Richie Mo’unga
11. Mark Telea
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
13. Rieko Ioane
14. Will Jordan
15. Beauden Barrett

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho
17. Ofa Tuungafasi
18. Fletcher Newell
19. Tupou Vaa’i
20. Luke Jacobson
21. Finlay Christie
22. David Havili
23. Leicester Fainga’anuku

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