TODAY |

All Blacks name team to take on South Africa as they kick off Rugby World Cup title defence

The All Blacks have named the team to take on South Africa, as they kick off their title defence at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday night in Yokohama, Japan.

The naming settles a week of intense speculation as to who will get the nod, especially in the back three combination, with Sonny Bill Williams starting on the bench.

Beauden Barrett starts at fullback with Richie Mo'unga at first-five.

In the forwards, the starting front row is made up of props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala and Coles, with impact coming off the bench from props Ofa Tuungafasi and Angus Ta'avao and Taylor. 

Kieran Read. Source: Photosport

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: "Any combination of players in our squad could have justified their selection.  But in the end we believe the 23 we have selected is the right group for this opposition.

"Since transferring from our camp in Kashiwa to Tokyo we have moved into Test match mode this week and our focus has been building throughout the week. 

“We've had a very good week's training in the heat and rain here in Tokyo, the facilities have been excellent and our Japanese hosts have been outstanding.

"The challenge of playing one of our oldest and most respected foes in the opening Test of RWC2019 has us excited and energised by what lies ahead.”

Full team list:

1. Joe Moody (41) 2. Dane Coles (64) 3. Nepo Laulala (20) 4. Samuel Whitelock (112) 5. Scott Barrett (32) 6. Ardie Savea (34) 7. Sam Cane (63) 8. Kieran Read - captain (122) 9. Aaron Smith (87) 10. Richie Mo'unga (12) 11. George Bridge (5) 12. Ryan Crotty (45) 13. Anton Lienert-Brown (38) 14. Sevu Reece (3) 15. Beauden Barrett (78)
Replacements: 16. Codie Taylor (45) 17. Ofa Tuungafasi (30) 18. Angus Ta'avao (8) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (25) 20. Shannon Frizell (5) 21. TJ Perenara (59) 22. Sonny Bill Williams (53) 23. Ben Smith (80)

Yesterday the Springboks named an unchanged starting line-up after their 41–7 warm-up win over Japan.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jesse Kriel.

The game kicks off Saturday 9:45pm NZT in Yokohama. It will be live on Spark Sport and 1-hour delayed on TVNZ 1.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Hansen says there is no “starting 15” that will be nailed down for the long Rugby World Cup campaign ahead. Source: 1 NEWS