The Ioane brothers will start together for the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup opener but the Barrett siblings have had to settle for bench spots as coach Ian Foster unveiled his line-up to play the Wallabies on Saturday at Eden Park.
Foster opted for the pairing of David Havili and Anton-Lienert-Brown in midfield but Will Jordan’s hamstring strain allowed Rieko Ioane a chance to start on the left wing.
Ioane was a star in the famed black No.11 jersey but has since shifted to outside centre for the Blues and at Test level.
His brother Akira will start at blindside flanker in a new-look loose forward trio that also features Ardie Savea at No.8 and Dalton Papalii on the openside.
The decision to not start Luke Jacobson comes as a surprise but more predictable was Foster handing Richie Mo’unga the reins ahead of Beauden Barrett at five-eighth after another superb Super Rugby season for the Crusaders.
Similarly, Damian McKenzie holds off the challenge of Jordie Barrett at fullback and the return of Brodie Retallick is a big boost to New Zealand’s second row which now has the luxury of bringing Scott Barrett off the bench and Patrick Tuipulotu missing out altogether.
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Injured props Joe Moody and Ofa Tuungafasi weren’t considered for selection and the Wallabies have signalled their intentions to attack George Bower and Nepo Laulala at scrum-time.
“There is huge excitement in our group at what lies ahead this weekend,” Foster said.
“There is such a huge history with the Bledisloe Cup, the rivalry between the All Blacks and Australia goes back a long, long way, and it’s always a massive contest.
“The cup isn’t ours – we have to go out and win it again. We can’t wait for the weekend.”
Halfback Aaron Smith will play his 100th Test but there is no place for TJ Perenara who will play for Wellington instead.
“He’s a special man, he’s achieved so much in the black jersey and has been an iconic player for us over the last decade,” Foster said of Smith.
“We know it’ll be a special night for him, his wife Teagan and his family.”
Rennie gets on the guitar
The Wallabies are yet to name their team but need a new winger after Marika Koroibete was stood down for a late night drinking session along with Isi Naisarani and Pone Fa’amausili.
The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.
ALL BLACKS (15-1): Damian McKenzie, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower
Reserves: Dane Coles, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Brad Weber, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett
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