Jordie Barrett ruled out as All Blacks name side for Rugby World Cup opener against France

Colin Newboult

Jordie Barrett during the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup warm-up against the Springboks.

The All Blacks will be without centre Jordie Barrett for Friday’s Rugby World Cup opener against France in Paris.

Barrett has been struggling with knee soreness over the past week and has not been deemed fit enough to play in this weekend’s encounter.

That means Anton Lienert-Brown starts alongside Rieko Ioane at centre, with David Havili having to make do with a place on the bench.

Injury woes

Both teams go into this clash without their first choice 12s with Jonathan Danty also absent for Les Bleus.

Centre is not the only injury issue for the respective sides as the French are missing Romain Ntamack, Paul Willemse and Cyril Baille.

As for the All Blacks, they have similar problems at prop and lock due to Brodie Retallick and Tyrel Lomax being absent.

Scott Barrett, who was red carded last time out, and Sam Whitelock therefore continue in the second-row with Nepo Laulala coming in for Lomax at tighthead.

Laulala is joined in the front-row by Codie Taylor, who replaces Dane Coles, and Ethan de Groot.

Shannon Frizell is another player to miss out, which means Dalton Papali’i comes in at number six as head coach Ian Foster goes with dual opensides.

Ardie Savea completes the back-row at number eight, and his combination with scrum-half Aaron Smith at the base of the scrum will be crucial.

On the bench, Ofa Tu’ungafasi gets in ahead of Tamaiti Williams as the loosehead replacement, while Fletcher Newell covers tighthead.

Despite impressing in the defeat to South Africa thanks to a stunning individual try, Cam Roigard is dropped from the 23 with Finlay Christie the preferred back-up to Smith.

Finally, Leicester Fainga’anuku provides the back three cover, while he can also feature at outside centre if absolutely needed.

The team

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Dalton Papali’i, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Luke Jacobson 21 Finlay Christie, 22 David Havili, 23 Leicester Fainga’nuku

Date: Friday, September 8
Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Kick-off: 21:15 local (20:15 BST, 19:15 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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