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Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA LTD
Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA LTD

Paris -  Anton Lienert-Brown replaced the injured Jordie Barrett at inside-centre in one of three changes to the New Zealand starting side for the World Cup opener against hosts France on Friday.

Barrett has been struggling with a knee problem and did not train this week so Lienert-Brown will play his second Test of the year alongside Rieko Ioane in midfield for the blockbuster clash at Stade de France.

Codie Taylor returns at hooker after a hamstring issue and Nepo Laulala comes in at tighthead prop for Tyrel Lomax, who needed 30 stitches in a cut to his leg after the crushing loss to SA in New Zealand’s final warm-up.

In the back row, Dalton Papali’i, who usually plays on the openside, starts as blindside flanker with Shannon Frizell still ruled out by a hamstring issue.

Reuters

New Zealand squad: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Mark Telea, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (capt), Dalton Papali’i, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot. Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Fletcher Newell, Tupou Vaa’i, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, David Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku.

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