New Zealand make 13 changes for encounter against Namibia

Brodie Retallick will play his first Test since July
Brodie Retallick will play his first Test since July

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has made 13 changes to the starting line-up for the third round of the World Cup game against Namibia to be played in Tokyo.

With already two wins from the opening two games, New Zealand are at second place in Pool B and a win on Sunday will take them a step closer to sealing a quarter-final spot.

Lock Brodie Retallick is set to play his first Test for the All Blacks since July 2019 after overcoming a shoulder injury and will partner with Sam Whitelock, who will lead the side.

“It’s great to have Brodie back,” said Hansen.

“There’s been some great work done by not only Brodie himself but also by the medical team. Obviously, Brodie is very excited to be in a position to pull the jersey back on.

“Sam brings a wealth of leadership experience and is the logical choice to lead the team.

“It will be the first time he’s done it in a Rugby World Cup, it’s a great honour for him and something he’ll be proud of.”

With Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga rested, Jordie Barrett will take the fly-half role for the first time with Aaron Smith at scrum-half. Jack Goodhue retains his place at centre and will be joined by Anton Lienert-Brown. George Bridge and Sevu Reece will form new wing partnership with Ben Smith at fullback.

Ardie Savea starts at number eight with Sam Cane joining Shannon Frizell at flankers while Nepo Laulala and Joe Moody are the preferred props.

New Zealand starting line-up: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 George Bridge, 10 Jordie Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Reserves: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Brad Weber, 22 TJ Perenara, 23 Rieko Ioane

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