The All Blacks team has been named to play Ireland in their Rugby World Cup 2019 Quarter Final at Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, on Saturday 19 October (Kick-off: 7.15PM, 11.15PM NZT)
The match-day 23 is as follows (Test caps in brackets):
1: Joe Moody (43)
2: Codie Taylor (48)
3: Nepo Laulala (23)
4: Brodie Retallick (78)
5: Samuel Whitelock (115)
6: Ardie Savea (42)
7: Sam Cane (65)
8: Kieran Read – captain (124)
9: Aaron Smith (89)
10: Richie Mo’unga (14)
11: George Bridge (7)
12: Anton Lienert-Brown (40)
13: Jack Goodhue (11)
14: Sevu Reece (5)
15: Beauden Barrett (80)
16:Dane Coles (66)
17: Ofa Tuungafasi (33)
18: Angus Ta’avao (11)
19: Scott Barrett (33)
20: Matt Todd (23)
21: T J Perenara (62)
22: Sonny Bill Williams (55)
23: Jordie Barrett (14)
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said the team was really looking forward to Saturday’s must-win encounter.
“There’s a lot of energy and excitement in the team which is normal for this stage of the tournament where the winner takes all. It will add extra pressure to both sides.
“We feel we’ve selected a great mixture of talent in our 23, who are in great form, and the squad includes many players who have a lot of Rugby World Cup knockout match experience. Together with our experienced management team, that brings a deep understanding of what is needed to get the job done.
“Past Rugby World Cup history is important because of the positive or negative experiences you’ve had. But ultimately it is what happens on the day that counts.”
Hansen added that all 31 players had been fit and available for selection, which was an added bonus in this stage of the tournament.
“This is a great reflection on the players themselves and the staff who have done a great job getting them through the Pool Play phase of the tournament. We are very happy where the team is at at this stage and it feels like the team is right where it needs to be for what will be a physical and fiercely-fought encounter.
Hansen concluded: “On behalf of the team, we’d like to thank all our families and supporters in New Zealand, around the world and here in Japan, particularly those who have made the effort to travel.
“The team has really appreciated the many messages we have received and we look forward to representing you all proudly on Saturday.”
· The All Blacks matchday 23 has 1,075 Test caps experience. All Blacks Captain Kieran Read, who is playing in his third Rugby World Cup, will be playing his 125 th Test. Winger Sevu Reece will be playing his sixth Test. Aaron Smith will be playing his 90th Test.
· Samuel Whitelock recorded his 100th Test match win in his last outing against Namibia. He’s just the fifth player in the world to achieve that feat.
· Seven players – Nepo Laulala, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Codie Taylor, Samuel Whitelock, Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara – will be playing their fourth consecutive RWC2019 match.
· The All Blacks and Ireland have played each other 31 times, with the All Blacks winning 28 times, Ireland twice and the one draw. Ireland have only played the All Blacks once in a previous Rugby World Cup, in Pool Play in South Africa in 1995.