Foster laughs off Hansen’s Wallabies assist

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New Zealand have named a strong line-up, including all three Barrett brothers, for their final Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture against South Africa at neutral Twickenham on Friday.

Coach Ian Foster has selected the same backline that helped beat the Springboks 35-20 during the Rugby Championship in Auckland last month.

Changes from that team include Luke Jacobson replacing Shannon Frizell at flanker, Sam Whitelock coming in for Brodie Retallick in the second row and Dane Coles replacing Codie Taylor at hooker.

Foster is keen to give his team a good run ahead of their World Cup opener against France in Paris on Sept. 8 and this presents an excellent opportunity to do so against the old enemy and reigning world champions.

Aaron Smith is at scrumhalf with Richie Mo’unga in the number 10 jersey, and Rieko Ioane making up the midfield pairing with Jordie Barrett. The back three contains wings Mark Telea and Will Jordan, and Beauden Barrett.

Ardie Savea is at number eight with captain Sam Cane and Jacobson as flankers, the second row is made up of Scott Barrett and Whitelock, while props Tyrel Lomax and Ethan de Groot pack down either side of Coles.

The All Blacks have made an impressive start to 2023, beating Australia twice to go with wins over Argentina and South Africa, a far cry from their wobbles in 2022 which almost cost Foster his job ahead of the World Cup.

Another victory would send them into the tournament with huge momentum.

They have hosts France, Italy, Uruguay and Namibia in Pool A.

All Blacks: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Telea, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Luke Jacobson, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Tyrel Lomax, Dane Coles, Ethan de Groot. Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Josh Lord, Tupou Vaa’i, Dalton Papali’i, Cam Roigard, Anton Lienert-Brown.

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