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Scott Barrett starts as All Blacks drop Sam Cane to the bench for semi-final

Steve Hansen has rejigged his back row for Saturday’s clash with England.

STEVE HANSEN HAS named Scott Barrett at blindside flanker in his All Blacks team to face England in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final in Yokohama.

The New Zealand boss has dropped Sam Cane to the bench to make room for Barrett, with Ardie Savea switching across the back row to openside flanker.

scott-barrett-with-peter-omahony Scott Barrett starts for the All Blacks against England. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Barrett’s inclusion is the only change to the All Blacks team that hammered Ireland in last weekend’s quarter-final.

The move appears to be designed to allow the Kiwis to attack England’s lineout, with Barrett more regularly lining out in the second row for the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

Hansen’s men tore England’s lineout apart in their win over England in Twickenham last November and the inclusion of Barrett along with second rows Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock should allow the Kiwis to attack the English set-piece again.

Barrett does, of course, have a quality attacking skillset and superb mobility too, although Cane is unlucky to miss out after a high-quality 40 minutes against Ireland last weekend.

“We’re not going to into too much depth about that or Eddie [Jones] will have the information that he can probably work out for himself,” said Hansen in Tokyo today when asked about the change. “I’ll leave him to do that.

“It’s a tactical thing, obviously it’s not on form because Sam has been playing well. We’ve made some decisions about what we want to do and how we want to play and we’ve made that change because of that.”

Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu comes onto the bench for the All Blacks, with Matt Todd dropping out of their matchday 23 after picking up an injury.

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Otherwise, the All Blacks are unchanged as they look to continue the momentum from last weekend’s comprehensive beating of Joe Schmidt’s Ireland. 

Hooker Codie Taylor will win his 50th Test cap on Saturday.

New Zealand (v England):

15. Beauden Barrett
14. Sevu Reece
13. Jack Goodhue
12. Anton Lienert-Brown
11. George Bridge
10. Richie Mo’unga 
9. Aaron Smith

1. Joe Moody
2. Codie Taylor
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Scott Barrett
7. Ardie Savea
8. Kieran Read (captain)

Replacements:

16. Dane Coles
17. Ofa Tuungafasi
18. Angus Ta’avao
19. Patrick Tuipulotu
20. Sam Cane
21. TJ Perenara
22. Sonny Bill Williams
23. Jordie Barrett 

Referee: Nigel Owens [Wales].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Tokyo

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