Rugby World Cup: Anton Lienert-Brown comes to All Blacks' rescue as injury rules Jordie Barrett out of vital clash against France

Anton Lienert-brown has earned the nickname "Mr Fix-it" from his teammates, after the veteran was called in to the starting line-up to replace the injured Jordie Barrett in the All Blacks' midfield for Saturday's Rugby World Cup opener.

First-choice No.12 Barrett was unable to train this week due to a knee injury that he picked up during their hefty defeat to South Africa at Twickenham. 

As a result, Lienert-Brown partners Rieko Ioane for the blockbuster clash at Stade de France, while David Havili slots into the No.22 jersey to provide cover on the bench. 

Anton Lienert-Brown and Will Jordan celebrate.
Anton Lienert-Brown and Will Jordan celebrate. Photo credit: Photosport

But that adjustment to the backline, shouldn't have any bearing on the All Blacks ahead of their World Cup opener against France, fullback Beauden Barrett says. 

"Yeah, Anton's Mr. fixit and versatile, he can play 12 and 13," he said. 

"Jordie's a bit down at the moment but he'll bounce back, he's a very determined young man and Anton and Rieko have had a great week together, so he's [Lienert-Brown] slotted back in seamlessly." 

Barrett may be down but he's certainly not out. Coach Ian Foster confirmed his injury wasn't serious and that he should be available for selection ahead of next week's clash against Namibia. 

"We didn’t really know after the Twickenham test," he said. "But he pulled up a bit sore. It's more of a jarring type of injury than anything else in that knee. So, it's a precautionary thing in some ways." 

For now, Foster has turned to 63-cap veteran Lienert-Brown. 

The Chiefs midfielder has had a disrupted year through injury, and was suspended for a dangerous tackle, which saw him miss all but one game of the Rugby Championship. 

But it's his track record in the black jersey, that has earned him the starting role. 

"Anton's very experienced, he's had a couple of years that have been disrupted, but behind the scenes has worked really hard on his game," Foster added. 

"I guess we've gone with Anton's experience, it's a big stage, I think he's craving an opportunity to show that he's got his confidence back after quite a disruptive couple of years, and we've got a lot of faith in him" 

"He covers 12 and 13 for us and we just felt that you know we got Davey who's come back from a long injury, he's only had one hit out back at Tasman before he came over here so that’s the issue we have." 

However, the All Blacks will miss the option Barrett provides as a third kicker along with first-five Richie Mo'unga and his brother Beauden at fullback. 

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