All Blacks aim to retain TRC title and name strong starting team for MCG Test.

All Blacks selectors Ian Foster, Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt have announced the team for this week’s Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test against Australia at the MCG. 

Ardie Savea will lead the side for the fifth time in his career, featuring in a loose forward trio which has undergone one change. Regular skipper Sam Cane has been withdrawn due to a neck strain sustained in the win over South Africa in Auckland. 

His absence has provided an opportunity for Dalton Papali’i [pictured below] to wear the No.7 jersey for the 14th time in his Test career, with Luke Jacobson coming into the match-day 23 as loose forward cover. 

While the rest of the run-on side remains unchanged, further additions have been made to the reserves. 

Experienced campaigners Anton Lienert-Brown and Samuel Whitelock are set to make their first appearances of the season. Ofa Tu’ungafasi returns after playing the opening Test against Argentina and Cam Roigard is in line to make his Test debut as halfback cover.

“This is a special Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship Test, which doubles as the opening Bledisloe Cup clash of the year,” said head coach Ian Foster. “This trophy means so much to both countries and we expect a massive challenge on Saturday.”

This weekend will mark the first All Blacks Test at the MCG since 2007. With over 80,000 fans expected, it is tipped to be the biggest Bledisloe Cup crowd since 2009 when 80,228 turned out to watch at Homebush.

“As the final Rugby Championship Test, there is much at stake in this game,” added Foster. “We have learned a lot from two stern Tests so far this year and there is huge excitement about playing Australia at this iconic ground.”


All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets) * debutant 
1. Ethan de Groot (15)
2. Codie Taylor (78)
3. Tyrel Lomax (25)
4. Brodie Retallick (101)
5. Scott Barrett (60) 
6. Shannon Frizell (27)
7. Dalton Papali’i (24)
8. Ardie Savea (72 - captain)
9. Aaron Smith (116)
10. Richie Mo’unga (46)
11. Mark Telea (3)
12. Jordie Barrett (50)
13. Rieko Ioane (61)
14. Will Jordan (22)
15. Beauden Barrett (114)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (22)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (51)
18. Nepo Laulala (47)
19. Samuel Whitelock (143)
20. Luke Jacobson (12)
21. Cam Roigard *
22. Anton Lienert-Brown (60)
23. Caleb Clarke (17)