The New Zealand All Blacks are fully fit and have named their strongest possible squad for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final.
The defending champions rotated their squad for what proved to be their final two pool games against Canada and Namibia, with the final game against Italy abandoned due to Typhoon Hagibis.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen makes one change to the pack which started the first pool game against South Africa with Brodie Retallick back from a dislocated shoulder to replace Scott Barrett.
There’s also a change in the back line from that 23-13 win over the Springboks in Yokohama as Jack Goodhue earns a recall, with Anton Lienert-Brown switching to inside centre and Ryan Crotty missing out altogether.
Skipper Kieran Read returns from a rest against Namibia to earn his 125th cap.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 16, 2019
Hansen said he had a full squad of players to choose from for Saturday, as excitement builds for the clash in Tokyo.
“This is a great reflection on the players themselves and the staff who have done a great job getting them through the pool phase of the tournament,” he said.
“We are very happy with where the team is at, at this stage, and it feels like the team is where it needs to be for [a] physical and fiercely fought 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.”
The winner of the England-Australia quarter-final earlier in the day awaits the winner of New Zealand and Ireland.
All Blacks: Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Jordie Barrett.
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