New Zealand Announces Nine Changes Ahead of Clash with Italy

New Zealand Announces Nine Changes Ahead of Clash with Italy

New Zealand’s head coach, Ian Foster, has unveiled a significantly altered starting XV for their upcoming Pool A showdown against Italy in Lyon, following their commanding 71-3 triumph over Namibia. Among the starting lineup, only Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea, and Beauden Barrett will retain their positions. Additionally, squad captain Sam Cane makes his return to the bench after overcoming a back issue that sidelined him for the team’s initial two pool stage matches.

Here is the revised roster:

  • 1 Ofa Tuungafasi
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Nepo Laulala
  • 4 Brodie Retallick
  • 5 Scott Barrett
  • 6 Shannon Frizell
  • 7 Dalton Papali’i
  • 8 Ardie Savea (c)
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 Mark Telea
  • 12 Jordie Barrett
  • 13 Rieko Ioane
  • 14 Will Jordan
  • 15 Beauden Barrett


  • 16 Dane Coles
  • 17 Tamaiti Williams
  • 18 Tyrel Lomax
  • 19 Samuel Whitelock
  • 20 Sam Cane
  • 21 Cam Roigard
  • 22 Damian McKenzie
  • 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Of the nine changes, six have been made in the backline, with Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, and Will Jordan all returning to the starting lineup. Notably, Jordie Barrett will make his debut appearance at RWC 2023.

In the front row, Codie Taylor makes his comeback after missing the last game, while Scott Barrett rejoins the starting XV after a 23-minute stint off the bench against Namibia. Shannon Frizell is set to make his first appearance at RWC 2023.

Remarkably, the All Blacks boast four of their 12 all-time centurions in the match-day 23, featuring Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, and Brodie Retallick.

If called upon from the bench, Sam Whitelock will surpass Richie McCaw as the most capped All Black in test history, marking his 149th match. He currently trails only Alun Wyn Jones (171) as the most capped player in world rugby. Since his debut in 2010 against Ireland, Whitelock has started in 125 of his 148 tests, with just 23 appearances as a substitute.

Captain Ardie Savea stands as the sole All Black to have started all seven tests this year, showcasing remarkable endurance by playing all but 17 minutes of rugby in 2023.

Notably, Dalton Papali’i has been a standout performer, leading the charts with the most rucks hit by any All Black at RWC 2023 (54). Impressively, he also boasts the highest number of defensive arrivals (14) but is yet to secure a penalty or win a jackal.

Mark Z

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