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Barrett given chance to shine at ten

Barrett given chance to shine at ten

Beauden Barrett will be given his shot at fly-half after being named to start by New Zealand coach Steve Hansen in the opening game of the Rugby Championship.

"With more than 800 Test caps of experience in our matchday 23, I’m confident we have the experience to deal with the challenge."

Beauden Barrett will be given his shot at fly-half after being named to start by New Zealand coach Steve Hansen in the opening game of the Rugby Championship.

Fresh from leading the Hurricanes to their maiden Super Rugby title, Barrett has been given the nod ahead of Aaron Cruden and will link up with Aaron Smith in the half-backs.

Kieran Read will once again captain the All Blacks, who will take on The British & Irish Lions next summer, while Nathan Harris is named at hooker with Dane Coles unavailable.

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The other big selection call came in the back three, with Israel Dagg getting his chance at full-back as Ben Smith shifts to the wing and Julian Savea is included on the bench.

And with Australia having won last year’s edition of the Rugby Championship, Hansen is eager to get off to a fast start in Sydney.

He said: "The selectors are very happy with the 23 selected for this Test match and we’re looking forward to seeing them play.

"This Test match will be another stepping stone in the re-establishment of this group on the international stage and we know that Australia will throw everything at us, which is what Test rugby is all about.

"With more than 800 Test caps of experience in our matchday 23, I’m confident we have the experience to deal with the challenge.

"This week has been about getting our preparation and attitude dead right and, therefore, there’s an expectation that this group will bring real intensity, physicality and a high level of skill execution come Saturday.

Trans-Tasman rivalry

"We’re all really excited about this first Investec Rugby Championship Test match. It’s against one of our most respected rivals and the Championship itself is one of the best competitions in the world. It produces an exciting brand of rugby and world-class players, which both teams have.

"We’re also playing for the Bledisloe Cup, which, after the Rugby World Cup, is probably the most important trophy we play for. Both teams will be desperate to get their hands on it which will create added pressure. It’s about embracing that pressure and taking it on.

"Our attitude has always been – and still is – that we don’t hold the Bledisloe Cup by right; we have to go out and earn the right to take it. As a group we’re really looking forward to this challenge on Saturday."

New Zealand team to face Australia on Saturday

1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Nathan Harris
3. Owen Franks
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Samuel Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino
7. Sam Cane
8. Kieran Read
9. Aaron Smith
10. Beauden Barrett
11. Waisake Naholo
12. Ryan Crotty
13. Malakai Fekitoa
14. Ben Smith
15. Israel Dagg
 
16. Codie Taylor
17. Kane Hames
18. Charlie Faumuina
19. Liam Squire
20. Ardie Savea
21. TJ Perenara
22. Aaron Cruden
23. Julian Savea

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