Rugby World Cup: Damian McKenzie named at fullback for All Blacks' pool finale against Uruguay

Utility Damian McKenzie will start at fullback in the All Blacks' final World Cup pool game against Uruguay, with captain Sam Cane - as expected - named for his first start of the tournament in France.

With a quarter-final spot still not secure, coach Ian Foster has reshuffled his line-up against the world No.17 team, inserting replacement Ethan Blackadder for his first World Cup appearance and resting several frontline performers.

Damian McKenzie in action against Italy.
Damian McKenzie in action against Italy. Photo credit: Photosport

Only six players have retained their starting positions from the convincing win over Italy - prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi, hooker Codie Taylor, flanker Shannon Frizzell, first-five Richie Mo'unga, midfielder Jordie Barrett and winger Will Jordan.

After their successful returns from injury, Frizzell and Barrett get more gametime before the knockout stages, as does Cane and prop Tyrel Lomax - who both came off the bench against the Azzurri.

Sam Whitelock will become the first All Black to play 150 tests. Replacement loose forward Ethan Blackadder will make his World Cup debut off the bench, while powerful winger Leicester Fainga'anuku has another chance to press for inclusion.

Veteran lock Brodie Retallick, No.8 Ardie Savea, halfback Aaron Smith and centre Rieko Ioane have the week off, while lock Scott and fullback Beauden Barrett are named among the reserves.

"We still have everything to play for and our group is preparing accordingly," said All Blacks coach Ian Foster. "We have plenty of respect for a Uruguay side that has showed just how good they can be in their pool games.

"It is a short turnaround from our last game against Italy, but being able to play in Lyon for back-to-back games has helped with our preparation. We are confident in the direction we are heading in, so it's now about putting out another solid performance and growing our game."

The All Blacks have played Uruguary once previously in 1976, but this fixture will be the first official test between the two nations.

All Blacks: 1-Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Samuel Whitelock, 5-Tupou Vaa'i, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Sam Cane, 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Cam Roigard, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 14-Will Jordan, 15-Damian McKenzie

Bench: 16-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Scott Barrett, 20-Ethan Blackadder, 21-Finlay Christie, 22-Beauden Barrett, 23-Caleb Clarke

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