By Le Figaro with AFP
New Zealand makes an important comeback to face the Squadra Azzurra this Friday in Lyon.
Third wing Shannon Frizell and center Jordie Barrett, injured since the start of the 2023 World Cup, return to the All Blacks starting XV who will face Italy on Friday in Lyonduring the 3rd day of group A, according to the composition of the team revealed on Wednesday.
The New Zealand captain, Sam Cane, injured in the back, who had given up at the last moment in the opening match lost against France (27-13), is also back, on the substitutes’ bench.
Arriving with a hamstring injury in France, Shannon Frizell, billed as the x-factor of the All Blacks, took advantage of the New Zealanders’ week off, spent in Bordeaux, to recover and finally apply for a starting place, in the team which will face Italy at Groupama Stadium in Lyon on Friday.
Smith and Mo’unga in hinge
Hit in one knee, still before the first match of the Blacks against the Blues, Jordie, the youngest of the Barrett brothers, starts in the center, ociated with Rieko Ionae, alongside his two brothers, Beauden at the back and Scott in second line. Ian Foster, the New Zealand coach, has for the first time the competition of all his available players and has chosen to field his typical team.
Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga will, for example, form the hinge, replacing Cam Roigard and Damian McKenzie, lined up against Namibia (71-3 victory in ToulouseSeptember 16).
The left pillar, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, continues, replacing the suspension for two matches of Ethan de Groot. Placed on the substitutes’ bench, second row Sam Whitelock, 148 caps, should during the game, break Richie McCaw’s record and become with 149 caps, the All Black, the most capped in history.
Third in its group, behind France and Italy, New Zealand will face, after its match against La Squadra, Uruguay on October 5, still in Lyon.
New Zealand’s XV to face Italy:
B. Barrett – Jordan, Ioane, J. Barrett, Tele’a – (o) Mo’unga, (m) Smith – Papali’i, Savea (cap.), Frizell – S. Barrett, Retallick – Laulala, Taylor, Tu’ungafasi
Subs: Coles, Willimas, Lomax, Whitelock, Cane, Roigard, McKenzie, Lienert-Brown