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close eye All Blacks coach Ian Foster names his team ahead of showdown with Ireland


Beauden Barrett during New Zealand All Blacks rugby squad training

Beauden Barrett during New Zealand All Blacks rugby squad training

Beauden Barrett during New Zealand All Blacks rugby squad training

Beauden Barrett will start at out-half for New Zealand against Ireland on Saturday as coach Ian Foster names a locked and loaded side for the sold out Aviva Stadium clash.

After a stop-start win over Italy last week, the coach has made plenty of changes and Barrett has been preferred to Crusaders star Richie Mo'unga who is on the bench, with Reiko Ioane named at centre alongside Anton Lienert-Brown in a re-jigged backline.

Sevu Reece is back on the wing, with new star Will Jordan on the other flank and Jordie Barrett set to take the goal-kicking duties from full-back.

Up front, Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala form a formidable front-row, with world-leading second-row pairing Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock together in the second-row.

Ethan Blackadder, Dalton Papali'i and Ardie Savea line out in the back-row, with Whitelock captaining the side.

Foster is expecting a real battle at the Aviva Stadium.

“We’ve watched Ireland’s development this year with interest, particularly through the latter part of the Six Nations and last week’s big win over Japan. They are certainly playing with confidence and ambition and represent a formidable challenge," he said.

“We have no doubt what Saturday is going to bring at a full Aviva Stadium. It’s a big occasion, rugby is back to Dublin in terms of full grandstands, so we know what it’s going to mean here, and we want that kind of stage. It’s big and it’s exciting and is what motivates this team."

On his backline selection, Foster said: "That’s the way we finished the Welsh game, with Anton moving in, Rieko moving to centre and Sevu on the wing.

"It’s a little bit of a reward for that combination. We’ve been able to use this series of games and the time together to try different things and thought a little change there would be good for us.

"We’re also pretty excited at the impact that Finlay (Christie), David (Havili'i) and Richie will have off the bench.”

NEW ZEALAND - J Barrett; W Jordan, R Ioane, A Lienert-Brown, S Reece; B Barrett, TJ Peranara; J Moody, C Taylor, N Laulala; B Retallick, S Whitelock (capt); E Blackadder, D Papali'i, A Savea. Reps: D Coles, K Tu'inukuafe, T Lomax, T Vaa'i, F Christie, R Mo'unga, D Havili'i.

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