Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks persevere with Mo'unga-Barrett line-up

The Mo'unga-Barrett experiment will get another chance to impress, when the All Blacks take on Australia in the Bledisloe Cup opener on Saturday.

Coach Steve Hansen has again named Crusaders first-five Richie Mo'unga in the 10 jersey, with incumbent Beauden Barrett at fullback against the Wallabies, as he continues to assess his back-line options for next months Rugby World Cup.

The new 'dual playmakers' line-up was tried for the first time in the draw against South Africa two weeks ago - with mixed results.

all blacks team
Photo credit: Newshub.

But Hansen is understandably keen to find a starting place for Mo'unga, who has been so impressive over three successful Super Rugby campaigns.

While Barrett has established his first-five credentials, the two-time World Player of the Year was also influential in the All Blacks' 2015 World Cup campaign, coming off the bench at fullback, with Dan Carter wearing 10.

"It's a work in progress," Foster admitted after the South African outing. "I think there were nice signs."

The other notable selection will see Ardie Savea wear the No.6 jersey in a loose-forward combination that also features Sam Cane and captain Kieran Read.

Both Savea and Cane were missing against South Africa, and Hansen had earlier ruled out starting them in tandem on the flanks.

Meanwhile, the option of playing Read at blindside had also picked up momentum this week.

Other changes to the side that faced the Springboks are:

  • Dane Coles replaces Codie Taylor at hooker
  • Scott Barrett returns from injury, with star lock Brodie Retallick sidelined
  • Shannon Frizell and Matt Todd make way for Savea and Cane
  • Aaron Smith returns at halfback, as TJ Perenara drops to the bench
  • Anton Lienert-Brown is promoted off the bench, replacing Sonny Bill Williams at second-five

All Blacks: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Dane Coles, 3-Owen Franks, 4-Scott Barrett, 5-Samuel Whitelock, 6-Ardie Savea, 7-Sam Cane, 8-Kieran Read (c), 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Rieko Ioane, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 13-Jack Goodhue, 14-Ben Smith, 15-Beauden Barrett 

Reserves: 16-Codie Taylor, 17-Atu Moli, 18-Angus Ta'avao, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Matt Todd, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Ngani Laumape, 23-George Bridge


Join us at 9:45pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test