One change to All Blacks fifteen for World Cup final

By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission

There is just one change to the All Blacks starting fifteen to take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final with Brodie Retallick starting ahead of Sam Whitelock in the second row.

Retallick resumes his quarterfinal combination with Scott Barrett while Whitelock will be used from the bench.

Whitelock, the most-capped player in the team’s history with 152 appearances, is in the reserves.

He will become the first men’s player in history to make three World Cup deciders. He is also one of six World Cup winners in the match day 23.

There is one additional personnel change to the reserves bench with 52-Test tighthead prop Nepo Laulala replacing Fletcher Newell.

With 1387 Test caps, this is the All Blacks’ most experienced team to play a Rugby World Cup final.

“It is an honour to fly our nation’s flag in the World Cup final once again,” said head coach Ian Foster. “We are proud of what we have achieved so far in this tournament, but the job is not done yet and we know full well the challenge that lies ahead.

“Of the seven World Cups that have been held outside of New Zealand, the All Blacks have only managed to win one. It goes to show just how hard it is to do but this group is determined to work hard for each other, as we have done all year.”

“Once again we have felt the support of an entire nation behind us,” added Foster. “We will definitely carry that with us when we go to Stade de France on Saturday.

In the 10th edition of the tournament, the All Blacks will mark their fifth appearance in the decider.

All Blacks match day 23 (Test caps in brackets):

1. Ethan de Groot (21)

2. Codie Taylor (84)

3. Tyrel Lomax (31)

4. Brodie Retallick (108)

5. Scott Barrett (68)

6. Shannon Frizell (32)

7. Sam Cane (c) (94)

8. Ardie Savea (80)

9. Aaron Smith (124)

10. Richie Mo’unga (55)

11. Mark Tele’a (8)

12. Jordie Barrett (56)

13. Rieko Ioane (68)

14. Will Jordan (30)

15. Beauden Barrett (122)

Reserves

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (29)

17. Tamaiti Williams (7)

18. Nepo Laulala (52)

19. Samuel Whitelock (152)

20. Dalton Papali’i (31)

21. Finlay Christie (20)

22. Damian McKenzie (46)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (69)

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