All Blacks move Barrett to full-back for Springboks clash

Beauden Barrett will surprisingly start at full-back for the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship clash against South Africa in Wellington on Saturday.

New Zealand edged Argentina 20-16 in their opener at the tournament, which has been shortened this year due to the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has opted for changes ahead of facing the Springboks, including shifting Barrett – who will play his 75th Test – from fly-half to full-back to make room for Richie Mo'unga.

Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks – who have 184 Test caps between them – are the starting front row, while captain Kieran Read and Sonny Bill Williams return.

"The selectors are once again very excited with the team we've selected and are very much looking forward to seeing them play," Hansen said on Thursday.

"The key for us this week has been to continue building on the very good groundwork we've put in over the last couple of weeks. Whilst we were a little rusty last week, we're looking forward to seeing improvements in all areas of our game this week.

"It's always an exciting occasion when we play the Springboks. We have a lot of respect for them and love playing them, as they bring many challenges to the contest. One of those challenge this week will be to not only match the physicality of the Boks, but to impose our own physicality on the game, and execute our game and our skillsets at a higher level."

The All Blacks have won 12 of their past 14 Tests against the Springboks, with New Zealand having held the Freedom Cup – contested by the two teams – since 2010.

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Matt Todd, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Vaea Fifita, Dalton Papalii, Aaron Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Bridge.

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