Perenara to start for All Blacks

Date published: November 24 2016

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has rung the changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with France in Paris.

In the backs, TJ Perenara has been named in the starting scrum-half jersey, with Aaron Smith dropping down to the replacements bench, while Ryan Crotty returns from injury and is in the 12 jersey, with Anton Lienert-Brown moving to centre.

With Ben Smith out injured, Israel Dagg moves to full-back, with Waisake Naholo coming in on the right wing.  Rieko Ioane comes onto the bench to cover the outside backs.

In the forwards there are just two changes to the XV which started last week’s Test against Ireland. Jerome Kaino returns to the six jersey for his sixth Test against France, while Matt Todd is at openside flanker, in for the injured Sam Cane.

“When it came to selecting this side, we had to make some changes because of injuries, but we also looked to pick the best side possible for what we think will be a titanic battle against the French,” explained Hansen.

“It was a very physical match in Dublin on the weekend so we have looked to get this week’s preparation spot on – both mentally and physically – as we know France will also be looking to impose themselves upon us come Saturday night. We’re excited by the unique challenge that comes with playing the French. They’ve improved immensely since the Rugby World Cup when we last played them, and we’re well aware they’ll be looking to finish their autumn season with a big performance.

“As we all know, they’re capable of producing wonderful rugby on their day. As always, we’re looking forward to the challenge. The Test is also another opportunity for our team to experience the Northern Hemisphere style of rugby which will give this new group another chance to learn and grow.  We have introduced 11 new players to the All Blacks environment this year which can only bode well for the future.”

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Rieko Ioane

Date: Saturday, November 26
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)