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Anton Lienert-Brown in for injured Jordie Barrett for All Blacks’ World Cup opener against France

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Anton Lienert-Brown will replace the injured Jordie Barrett at centre for New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup opener with France, head coach Ian Foster said on Wednesday.

Barrett, 26, missed training this week with a knee issue.

Lienert-Brown will make just his third Test start in a year on Friday in Paris against France, who have lost just once at home since March 2021.

Barrett’s brothers, two-time World Player of the Year Beauden and lock Scott, are selected.

“It is a privilege to play in the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2023,” Foster said in a statement.

“What makes it extra special is playing the host nation who are a very proud and in-form team,” he added.

Experienced lock Brodie Retallick, loose forward Shannon Frizell and prop Tyrel Lomax are also sidelined with fitness problems with winger Emoni Narawa ruled out of the whole tournament with a back issue.

Fly-half Richie Mo’unga and tight-head prop Nepo Laulala will make their 50th Test appearances.

New Zealand:

15, Beauden Barrett; 14, Will Jordan, 13, Rieko Ioane, 12, Anton Lienert-Brown, 11, Mark Telea; 10, Richie Mo’unga; 9, Aaron Smith; 8, Ardie Savea; 7, Sam Cane (capt); 6, Dalton Papali’i; 5, Scott Barrett; 4, Samuel Whitelock; 3, Nepo Laulala; 2, Dane Coles; 1, Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16, Samisoni Taukei’aho; 17, Ofa Tu’ungafasi; 18, Fletcher Newell; 19, Tupou Vaa’i; 20, Luke Jacobson; 21, Finlay Christie; 22, David Havili; 23, Leicester Fainga’anuku

Coach: Ian Foster

AFP

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