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All Blacks ring the changes for France challenge

All Blacks ring the changes for France challenge

Richie Mo'unga and Sam Cane New Zealand

New Zealand coach Ian Foster has opted for seven changes to the team that lost to Ireland last weekend as they look to finish the Autumn Nations Series with victory over France.

Ireland were superb in a 29-20 triumph in Dublin and Foster’s response is to switch up almost half his starting XV, with four of those alterations coming in the back-line.

Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga form an all-new half-back pairing with Quinn Tupaea outside them at 12 and George Bridge on the left wing, as TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sevu Reece dropping out of the 23 entirely.

The 79-cap experience of Dane Coles is preferred to Codie Taylor at hooker while Akira Ioane and Sam Cane come in as the flankers.

The rest of the team is unchanged, meaning Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala flank Coles in the front row, Brodie Retallick and skipper Sam Whitelock continue in the engine room and Ardie Savea is at No.8.

Rieko Ioane partners Tupaea in the midfield with the explosive Will Jordan on the right wing and Jordie Barrett continuing to hold the No.15 jersey.

France haven’t beaten the All Blacks since 2009, and only 12 times in 61 fixtures between the sides, but Fabien Galthié’s talented young team have impressed during the Autumn Nations Series and Saturday evening’s 8pm kick-off in the Stade de France promises to be a mouth-watering contest.

READ: France team to play New Zealand

“There’s a mutual respect between our two countries built over years and years,” said Foster. “Kiwis have always loved the way the French play, there’s a flair about them that we’ve always been drawn to and they have knocked us over in some pretty big moments in history.

“They are a young, formidable team building in confidence and they’ve been targeting this match so it’s a huge way for us to finish. We know we have to respond from the Irish performance.

“It’s been an incredibly long tour but I’ve been delighted with how the players have handled it from a physical point of view.

“They’ve given us everything and I couldn’t be more proud of the way they have handled the length of this tour.

“But we’ve had to manage the physical and mental load for the players, so have changed things up a bit for this final Test to maximise the energy within the whole group.

“That’s not a reflection on the guys that haven’t been selected, it’s more a chance to bring some fresh players in, and that’s going to be vital for us.”

New Zealand: 15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Will Jordan, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Quinn Tupaea, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. Joe Moody, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Samuel Whitelock – captain, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Ardie Savea,Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. George Bower, 18. Ofa Tuungafasi, 19. Tupou Vaa’I, 20. Shannon Frizell, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Damian McKenzie, 23. David Havili

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