Beauden Barrett has been named as captain for the All Blacks’ clash against the Barbarians at Twickenham this Saturday as revealed by allblacks.com.
Steve Hansen has included three new players in a strong matchday 23 for the opening game of their four match European tour which also sees them take on France, Scotland and Wales.
20 year-old Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, who is yet to play a Super rugby game, is named on the bench along with Crusaders prop Tim Perry and versatile Blues back Matt Duffie.
Two-time World Cup winner and 81 times-capped veteran Jeremy Kaino returns to the team after missing the whole of the Rugby Championship due to personal reasons and is the most experienced figure in a pretty inexperienced pack in which only he, Luke Romano and Ardie Savea have more than twenty caps.
While behind the scrum, TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett provide plenty of experience at nine and ten with Ngani Laumape and Anton Lienert-Brown forming an exciting young midfield partnership.
Seta Tamanivalu and Waisake Naholo offer plenty of pace out wide with David Havili completing a dangerous back three.
Speaking about his new captain and the three new faces in his squad, Hansen offered his congratulations to the quartet:
“Not only is it a special occasion for the team, it’ll also be a particularly special day for Beauden as well as the three new all blacks Asafo, Tim and Matt, who will be pulling on the All Blacks jersey for the first time. We congratulate them on their impending milestones”.
Describing the match as an opportunity for his squad to ‘stake claims’ and gain ‘big-match’ experience, he added:
“It’s very rare that we get the chance to play a non-test match in the modern era and it’s given us the chance to give our full squad an opportunity to stake claims for future matches and gain valuable big-match experience.”
Here’s the All Blacks’ matchday 23-
1. Kane Hames
2. Nathan Harris
3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi
4. Luke Romano
5. Scott Barrett
6. Vaea Fifita
7. Ardie Savea
8. Jerome Kaino
9. TJ Perenara
10. Beauden Barrett- captain
11. Seta Tamanivalu
12. Ngani Laumape
13. Anton Lienert-Brown
14. Waisake Naholo
15. David Havili
17. Tim Perry
20. Sam Cane
21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow
22. Lima Sopoaga