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All Blacks named for RWC Semi Final vs England

The All Blacks team has been named to play England in their Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-final at International Stadium Yokohama, on Saturday 26 October (Kick-off: 5.00PM, 9.00PM NZT)

The matchday 23 is as follows (Test caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (44)
2. Codie Taylor (49)
3. Nepo Laulala (24)
4. Brodie Retallick (79)
5. Samuel Whitelock (116)
6. Scott Barrett (34)
7. Ardie Savea (43)
8. Kieran Read – captain (125)
9. Aaron Smith (90)
10. Richie Mo’unga (15)
11. George Bridge (8)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (41)
13. Jack Goodhue (12)
14. Sevu Reece (6)
15. Beauden Barrett (81)
Replacements:
16. Dane Coles (67)
17. Ofa Tuungafasi (34)
18. Angus Ta’avao (12)
19. Patrick Tuipulotu (28)
20. Sam Cane (66)
21. T J Perenara (63)
22. Sonny Bill Williams (56)
23. Jordie Barrett (15)

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “There’s no doubt that this is a huge game and there’s a lot of excitement around it. We know what we have to do and we’ve had a great week’s preparation.  The team is exactly where we want to be, mentally and physically, ahead of the weekend.

“We’re really looking forward to this opportunity.  It’s all about this game and the moments it will bring. In these moments, the word pressure is bandied around quite readily.  However, that pressure is always there whenever you play quality opposition, regardless of who you are.  It’s about how you handle that in the moment and not getting distracted by the past or the future.”

Hansen added: “Both teams have a common goal, which is to make the Final.  However, we’ve arrived at this point with vastly different experiences from previous Rugby World Cups.  No doubt, those experiences will resurface throughout the week and even in the game itself.

“Let’s hope the game lives up to the expectation that both teams will have, and is one for the ages.”

There is one change to the matchday 23 which won the quarter-final against Ireland last weekend. Lock Patrick Tuipulotu comes onto the bench. Ardie Savea moves to seven with Scott Barrett at six, and Sam Cane will provide added impact from the bench.

Meanwhile, it’s a significant match for hooker Codie Taylor who will play his 50th Test.

“On behalf of the players and management, we congratulate Codie on reaching this special milestone.  You couldn’t ask for a better occasion to mark this,” Hansen said.

“We’re really looking forward to the great atmosphere that a Rugby World Cup semi-final brings and we know that there are many Kiwi fans who have travelled from home to support us.  There are also many Japanese fans who will be at Yokohama cheering us on.  We hope that we can put in a performance that will make them proud.”

Key Facts

• The All Blacks and England have played each other 41 times, with the All Blacks winning 33 times, England seven times and the one draw.  The last result was a 16-15 win to the All Blacks at Twickenham in November last year.  They’ve played each other three times at the Rugby World Cup, including the classic semi-final at the 1995 tournament in South Africa.  They also played Pool matches in 1991 and 1999.

• As well as Codie Taylor playing his 50th Test, Brodie Retallick will be playing his 80th, Ofa Tuungafasi and Scott Barrett their 35th and Nepo Laulala his 25th.

• While loose forward Sam Cane will be playing his first Test against England (in his 67th Test), Captain Kieran Read and Samuel Whitelock will be playing their ninth Test against the Northern Hemisphere foe, while Dane Coles, Brodie Retallick and Aaron Smith have played them seven times.

• Kieran Read will be captaining the All Blacks for the 51st time, equalling 1992-1997 All Blacks hooker Sean Fitzpatrick.

• Beauden Barrett scored his 35th try for the All Blacks last weekend, the same number as All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan scored.

• Brodie Retallick and Samuel Whitelock have had 46 wins as a starting second row pair, one behind the world record held by South African duo Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

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