Predicted: All Blacks Squad to face France

Predicted: All Blacks Squad to face France

Steve Hansen is set to name his All Black squad on Sunday that will face France in a three-match Test Series. 


Hansen will be faced with the task of finding replacements for Kieran Read, Dane Coles, Kane Hames and Asafo Aumua who have all been ruled out of the series with injuries. 

While, Israel Dagg, Luke Ramano, Nepo Laulala and Patrick Tuipulotu are all in doubt for the series.

Front row

Codie Taylor is likely to anchor the scrum in the starting #2 jersey with Coles still out, while Nathan Harris is set to deputise off the bench. We are backing Riccitelli to get the nod ahead of Liam Coltman and Ash Dixon after a number of impressive performances for the Hurricanes this season.

Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, and Ofa Tu'ungafasi are likely to join starters Joe Moody and Owen Franks in the squad.

Prediction:

Hookers - Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris & Ricky Riccitelli   

Loosehead - Joe Moody & Daniel Lienert-Brown

Tighthead - Owen Franks, Ofa Tu'ungafasi & Jeffery Toomaga-Allen

Second Row

Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick are arguably the best locking partnership in World Rugby and should start all three Tests. Scott Barrett will provide cover on the bench while Luke Romano is in doubt for the series.

We are backing Hansen to head into the series with just 3 specialist locks with Vaea Fifita covering blindside flank and lock. Highlanders' Tom Franklin is unlucky not to get a look in.

Prediction:

Sam Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick & Vaea Fifita

Loose forwards

With Kieran Read missing the Series the All Blacks selectors will need to make a big choice at No. 8 with a number of contenders putting their hands up during the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Akira Ioane has been one of the Blues top performers this season, so has Luke Whitelock for the Highlanders. An outside call is Hurricanes No. 8 Gareth Evans who has excelled this season in all facets of the game. 

Squire is likely to miss the first Test but should be included in the squad for the other two Tests.

Prediction:

Openside - Ardie Savea, Sam Cane & Matt Todd

Blindside - Liam Squire & Vaea Fifita

No. 8 - Akira Ioane & Luke Whitelock

Halfbacks

Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara will undoubtedly make the squad while Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has been identified as future All Black and will probably be included in the squad.

Bryn Hall or Mitchell Drummond could be shock inclusion after strong showings so far this season. Beauden Barrett will start at #10 with Damian McKenzie and Richie Mo'unga fighting it out as his back up. 

Prediction:

Scrumhalf - Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara & Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi

Flyhalf - Beauden Barrett, Damian McKenzie & Richie Mo'unga 

Centres

Sonny-Bill Williams & Ryan Crotty will likely be the starting centre partnership for the first Test - barring injuries.

Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape could find themselves on the bench depending on how Hansen decides to split his bench.

In a bit of an outside call, Jack Goodhue could make his Test debut after an impressive season and a half with the Crusaders.

Prediction:

Sonny-Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown & Ngani Laumape

Outside backs

Arguably the best fullback in World Rugby, Ben Smith, should be joined by the likes of Jordie Barrett, Waisake Naholo and Rieko Ioane out wide. 

If Hansen goes with 5 outside backs the question will be if he picks Ben Lam, Nehe Milner-Skudder or even Solomon Alaimalo who have all been in fine form so far this season.

Another decision he will have to make is if he gives Julian Savea another opportunity to prove himself in the Black jersey. 

Prediction:

Wingers - Rieko Ioane, Waisake Naholo & Ben Lam

Fullbacks - Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith

More News

Latest News