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Tamaiti Williams in line for All Blacks Debut


Four Crusaders will take the field as part of the All Blacks starting XV when they take on the Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday. 


Two more are set to make an impact the bench – in particular Tamaiti Williams, the star prop who had a breakout Super Rugby season, set to make his debut in the Black jersey. 


The fixture is the first home test versus South Africa in four years and will play out in front of a sold-out crowd. Kick off is 7.05pm on Saturday 15 July. 


Richie Mo’unga returns to first five after coming off the bench versus Argentina in Mendoza last weekend. Expect safe hands and a pinpoint boot from the Crusaders centurion. Paired with Aaron Smith at halfback, a man who called time with his Highlanders in the ’23 Super Rugby Pacific season, the ABs are looking back to their best. 


Codie Taylor also returns to familiar hooker territory, looking to straighten both the scrum and the lineout. 


Scott Barrett, our captain, will pull on the No 5 jersey in his 200th first class game, while Will Jordan takes up the right wing. Jordan’s eye, his line breaks and ability to predict the future of play should insert speed and agility to the whole squad. 


Braydon Ennor put in a solid performance versus Argentina and will bring fresh legs when he runs out.  



All eyes though will be on Tamaiti Williams should be run on to join the front row. The 22 year old was the talk of the town when it came to Super Rugby forwards this season, and his effort and game time was rewarded with All Blacks selection. Maturity beyond his years and a cool temperament – that’s our guy. 


Tests against the Springboks have been bruising occasions for generations and both sides are coming off good victories. The All Blacks got the best of Argentina a week ago with a 41-12 win, while the Springboks rolled over the Wallabies 43-12 in Pretoria. They’ve both travelled back to New Zealand for this one, with confidence high and a point to prove. 



All Blacks match day 23 (Test caps in brackets) * debutant 
1. Ethan de Groot (14) 
2. Codie Taylor (77) 
3. Tyrel Lomax (24) 
4. Brodie Retallick (100) 
5. Scott Barrett (59) 
6. ShannonFrizell(26) 
7. Sam Cane (captain – 87) 
8. ArdieSavea(71) 
9. Aaron Smith (115) 
10. RichieMo’unga(45) 
11. Mark Telea (2) 
12. Jordie Barrett (49) 
13. Rieko Ioane (60) 
14. Will Jordan (21) 
15. BeaudenBarrett (113) 
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (21) 
17. Tamaiti Williams * 
18. NepoLaulala(46) 
19. TupouVaa’i(19) 
20. DaltonPapali’i(23) 
21. Finlay Christie (15) 
22. BraydonEnnor(7) 
23. Caleb Clarke (16)