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All Blacks make seven changes from Ireland defeat as they bid to bounce back in Paris

Ian Foster: ‘We know we have to respond from the Irish performance.’

Richie Mo'unga under pressure during New Zealand's defeat to Ireland in Dublin last weekend.
Richie Mo'unga under pressure during New Zealand's defeat to Ireland in Dublin last weekend.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

RICHIE MO’UNGA STARTS at fly-half instead of the injured Beauden Barrett for this weekend’s highly-anticipated Test with France, New Zealand Rugby announced today.

Barrett failed a head injury assessment during last Saturday’s defeat in Ireland.

Mo’unga will be partnered at half-back by Aaron Smith, who will make his first appearance of the tour in Saturday’s dress rehearsal for the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after missing away victories over the USA, Italy and Wales due to paternity leave.

“We’re really excited about this match, it’s a big statement game for us and we know we have to respond from the Irish performance,” head coach Ian Foster said.

“It’s been an incredibly long tour but I’ve been delighted with how the players have handled it from a physical point of view.

“We’ve had to manage the physical and mental load for the players, so have changed things up a bit for this final Test to maximise the energy within the whole group,” he added.

The new faces for Saturday’s game in Paris also include hooker Dane Coles, back-rowers Akira Ioane and Sam Cane, George Bridge and centre Quinn Tupaea.

Front-rower Codie Taylor, flankers Ethan Blackadder and Dalton Papali’i, and winger Sevu Reece drop out of the squad completely.

Tupaea replaces the injured Anton Lienert-Brown in midfield to make just his seventh Test appearance.

New Zealand:

15. Jordie Barrett
14. Will Jordan
13. Rieko Ioane
12. Quinn Tupaea
11. George Bridge
10. Richie Mo’unga
9. Aaron Smith

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Samuel Whitelock (captain)
6. Akira Ioane
7. Sam Cane
8. Ardie Savea

Replacements:

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho
17. George Bower
18. Ofa Tuungafasi
19. Tupou Vaa’i
20. Shannon Frizell
21. Brad Weber
22. Damian McKenzie
23. David Havili

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France:

15. Melvyn Jaminet
14. Damian Penaud
13. Gael Fickou
12. Jonathan Danty
11. Gabin Villière
10. Romain Ntamack
9. Antoine Dupont (captain)

1. Cyril Baille
2. Peato Mauvaka
3. Uini Antonio
4. Cameron Woki
5. Paul Willemse
6. Anthony Jelonch
7. Francois Cros
8. Gregory Alldritt

Replacements:

16. Gaëtan Barlot
17. Jean-Baptiste Gros
18. Demba Bamba
19. Romain Taofifénua
20. Thibaud Flament
21. Dylan Cretin
22. Maxime Lucu
23. Mathieu Jailbert

© – AFP, 2021

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