New Zealand kick their November test series off this weekend against a good looking Barbarians side at Twickenham.
The All Black team that will run onto the green grass of Twickenham will not be their strongest side but we all know even the second string side in New Zealand can beat most nations.
The side do have some experience players with the likes of Beauden Barrett, Jerome Kaino, TJ Perenara and Luke Romano and much will be expected from them to guide the youngsters.
“It’s going to be a great occasion,” Ian Forster said. They’ve [the Barbarians] got an ethos and a way to play and there’s going to be a lot of guys in there that have got a lot of personal meaning and personal motivation and I think that’s going to make it a pretty cool game.
“It’s certainly one that is going to be really challenging for us and we’ve got to make sure that we get what we want out of it which is what we spoke about [at the team’s review of the Bledisloe Cup game], just making some progress on the last game and be ready for three Test matches.”
The Barbarians have also picked a very strong side with a world of experience which will test this All Black side. Their is a few Saffas in the team as well which add a bit flavor for us as well.
Julian Savea has been the talk of the town this week as the All Black is still one of the best finishers in the game and will run out against his country.
Savea was part of the All Blacks set-up as recently as their series against the British and Irish Lions before he was dropped for the world champions’ Rugby Championship campaign.
“It’s a commentary on the game, not only in New Zealand but globally,” Deans told Sky Sports.
“But particularly in New Zealand because there are always people bubbling up from below. If you park up, you get passed. I’m not saying Julian parked up but you have to keep evolving as a player. That’s the nature of the game, particularly in the professional era.
“They analyse and they find ways to make your life difficult, but we’re expecting to see a pretty good performance from Julian on the weekend – the great thing is he’s up for it. A lesser man would have said ‘it’s too hard’, but he’s still hungry and that’s great from the All Blacks’ perspective.”
New Zealand have played the Barbarians 10 times since 1954, with seven wins to the All Blacks, one draw and two losses. This will be the All Blacks’ 45th match at Twickenham. The last time they played there was the Rugby World Cup Final win over Australia in 2015.
Kwagga Smith, Akker van der Merwe and Robert du Preez will bring some great excitement to the team as well as Lions Harold Vorster that will start in the midfield.
Surely something to get you in front of the tv.
Barbarians: 15 George Bridge, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Vince Aso, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Andy Ellis (c), 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Dillon Hunt
New Zealand: 15 David Havili, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Beauden Barrett (c), 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Matt Duffie