Rugby World Cup: Brodie Retallick starts over Sam Whitelock as All Blacks name side to face Springboks in final

The All Blacks have made two changes to their matchday side to face South Africa in Sunday's (NZ time) Rugby World Cup final.

Brodie Retallick returns to the starting XV, swapping with Sam Whitelock, who moves to the bench, after his performance in the semi-final victory over Argentina. Whitelock will play his 153rd and final test, before he leaves New Zealand for French side Pau in 2024.

The final will also see Whitelock become the first player to appear in three tournament deciders, after also winning the Webb Ellis Cup in 2011 and 2015. 

On the bench, prop Nepo Laulala comes in for Fletcher Newell in the No.18 jersey, as coach Ian Foster opts for experience in his reserve front row.  

Aaron Smith leads the All Blacks' haka.
Aaron Smith leads the All Blacks' haka. Photo credit: Photosport

The rest of the side is largely unchanged from the one that convincingly defeated Los Pumas last weekend. In the front row, the first choice trio of Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax have been retained, while lock Scott Barrett completes the tight five alongside Retallick.

In the loose forwards, Sam Cane captains the side, alongside Ardie Savea and Shannon Frizell, while Dalton Papali'i provides cover from the bench.

Aaron Smith and Richie Mo'unga will both play their final test before leaving for Japan, with Finlay Christie and Damian McKenzie covering among the reserves.

In midfield, the combination of Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane remains, while Anton Lienert-Brown covers from the bench. 

In the outside backs, Mark Telea and Will Jordan start on the wings, with Beauden Barrett at fullback.

On the bench, hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho and prop Tamaiti Williams join Laulala as front row cover.

"It is an honour to fly our nation's flag in the World Cup final once again," said Foster, before his final test match as head coach.

"We are proud of what we have achieved so far in this tournament, but the job is not done yet and we know full well the challenge that lies ahead.

"Of the seven World Cups that have been held outside of New Zealand, the All Blacks have only managed to win one.


"It goes to show just how hard it is to do, but this group is determined to work hard for each other, as we have done all year."

Victory for either side would mean a record fourth Webb Ellis Cup, while the Springboks hope to go back to back, after their victory in Japan four years ago. 

All Blacks: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Brodie Retallick, 5-Scott Barrett, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Sam Cane (c), 8-Ardie Savea, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Mark Telea, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Will Jordan, 15-Beauden Barrett

Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Sam Whitelock, 20-Dalton Papali'i, 21-Finlay Christie, 22-Damian McKenzie, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown

Join Newshub at 8am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks v Springboks World Cup final