FRANCE TEST SERIES
Sonny Bill in, Beauden Barrett out for All Blacks clash with France
Wellington — All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett has been ruled out of Saturday’s third Test against France in Dunedin, while centre Sonny Bill Williams is in line for his first appearance of the series.
Assistant coach Ian Foster said on Tuesday that neither the injured Barrett nor loose forward Vaea Fifita, who also received a head knock in the All Blacks’ 26-11 win in the second Test at the weekend, would be considered for the Test.
Flanker Liam Squire, who suffered a shoulder injury, was listed as an "unlikely" starter. Williams is in the frame after missing the first two Tests following knee surgery.
Foster said the selectors had held a "lively" conversation about the make-up of the dead rubber third Test side.
"But we go in with a rough sketch as a selection group…. This has been a good one, sorting this one [team] out," he said.
Playmaker Barrett was taken from the field in the 12th minute of the first Test and failed a concussion test after crashing head-first to the ground following a mid-air collision with France fullback Benjamin Fall.
Fall was sent off although a judicial panel later cleared him and erased the red card from his record, ruling his actions were neither deliberate nor reckless.
Williams was likely to be in the third Test line-up after being told at a meeting with coaches and medical staff that the surgery was a success.
"The coach turned to the doctor and said, ‘well, is he a chance of playing in the third Test?’ And the doc said ‘yeah, but he has to come into camp’," Williams said.
"So he looked at me and said, ‘you’re in camp’."