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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Wounded All Blacks make nine changes, hand Sam Whitelock record-equalling cap

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New Zealand announced nine changes to their starting line-up to face Namibia on Friday in their second Pool A match of the Rugby World Cup after losing to France in the tournament’s opening game.

The 27-13 defeat to the hosts was the first time the All Blacks have ever lost a pool game in a Rugby World Cup.

Sam Whitelock will make his 148th international appearance for the three-time world champions, equalling the record of Richie McCaw.

Only Alun Wyn Jones of Wales, with 171, has made more international appearances than Whitelock and McCaw.

Whitelock is one of six players retained by coach Ian Foster for the game in Toulouse from the team that lost to France last Friday.

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The others are Ardie Savea, who will captain the side, Beauden Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Dalton Papali’i and Nepo Laulala.

New Zealand (15-1)

Beauden Barrett; Caleb Clarke, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku; Damian McKenzie, Cam Roigard, Ardie Savea (capt), Dalton Papali’i, Luke Jacobson; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Nepo Laulala, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ofa Tuungafasi

Replacements: Dane Coles, Ethan de Groot, Fletcher Newell, Scott Barrett, Tupou Vaa’i; Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga. Rieko Ioane


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