Barrett confirmed as All Blacks, Wallabies squads announced

All Blacks first five-eighth Beauden Barrett. Photo: Getty Images
All Blacks first five-eighth Beauden Barrett. Photo: Getty Images
Beauden Barrett is a confirmed starter in a trimmed-down All Blacks team to face the Wallabies in Sydney.

Outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder and midfield back Sonny Bill Williams weren't on the plane out of Christchurch on Sunday as the travelling group was pruned to 32 players.

Williams was unavailable anyway with a shoulder injury while Milner-Skudder was regarded as an unlikely starter.

Of more interest was selector Grant Fox's confirmation that Barrett will wear No.10 in the Bledisloe Cup opener.

The form of Crusaders five-eighth Richie Mo'unga thrust him into the picture, even though he has just one reserves bench cap to his name.

Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara suggested the All Blacks consider shifting Barrett - whose Super Rugby campaign was mixed - to fullback to cater for Mo'unga.

Fox confirmed that won't happen, banking on the past Test deeds of two-time world player of the year Barrett.

"Beauden is the established 10 who has done nothing wrong in an All Blacks jersey, and we have done pretty well in the last little while with him steering the ship around," Fox told Radio Live on Sunday.

"Richie will get his opportunity - the o00nly way for him to get the experience that Beauden has is to be given a run at some stage."

Fox said Damian McKenzie was also part of the equation at five-eighth, having produced an exhilarating starting display in New Zealand's most recent outing, the third Test win over France in June.

Australia coach Michael Cheika named the following 28-man squad for the opening Rugby Championship match against New Zealand on Saturday.

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (capt), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou

Backs: Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua.

Additional reporting by Reuters


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