Brad Weber to start at number nine for All Blacks

Planet Rugby

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has named Brad Weber as Beauden Barrett’s half-back partner for their Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies in Perth on Sunday.

This will be Weber’s second start in his 11th Test, with TJ Perenara to provide impact off the replacements bench.

Anton Lienert-Brown back from injury

Two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Barrett is at fly-half while Anton Lienert-Brown returns from injury to wear the number 13 jersey, outside David Havili.

Rieko Ioane moves to the left wing, Will Jordan is on the right wing and Jordie Barrett starts at full-back. Damian McKenzie and George Bridge are the other back reserves.

There is just the one change from the starting pack from the second Bledisloe Cup-winning Test in Auckland last month, with lock Scott Barrett coming in for Samuel Whitelock in the second-row.

Patrick Tuipulotu has a tight groin which sees Tupou Vaa’i come onto the bench for his first Test of 2021. Ethan Blackadder is also among the replacements as loose forward cover. Ardie Savea will captain the All Blacks for the first time at number eight.

Foster said: “We are ready, and the team is really determined to finish off this block of Tests against Australia with a top performance.

“We’ve had a really unique situation going into this Test, with quarantine back in New Zealand and a ‘soft’ quarantine here in Perth, but the work that has gone in preparing the players has been outstanding, so when the whistle goes on Sunday, we’ll be ready.”

“In the forwards, we have picked a group that is most recently battle-hardened. A lot of them played in the first two Bledisloe Cup Tests, so it’s right to go with them in this Fortinet Rugby Championship Test.”

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Ardie Savea (c), 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 George Bridge

Date: Sunday, September 5
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 14:00 local (07:00 BST, 06:00 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Jordan Way (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)


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The Planet Rugby Show - Episode Twelve

Mark Smith and Adam Kyriacou bring you another Planet Rugby Show, covering the goings-on in the sport.