All Blacks raring to go in Bledisloe

 All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor. Photo: Getty Images
All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor. Photo: Getty Images
The All Blacks' first Bledisloe Cup clash against the Wallabies in Wellington today will be the first time the New Zealand side will be on the field since the conclusion of the disappointing 2019 Rugby World Cup.

In fact, it's two weeks short of a year since that night in Yokohama where the All Blacks fell to England in the World Cup semifinal, and 400 days since they last played a test in New Zealand.

With everything that's happened since, All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor said he was excited to put the loss behind and use it as fuel against the Wallabies in the highly-anticipated return of test rugby.

"Being involved in that, it obviously hurts and you're never going to forget losing a World Cup playoff," Taylor said.

"The great thing about this year is we've got a new group and there's a whole lot of new players who weren't a part of that team and they can bring a lot of energy themselves and help us get through.

"We've got a whole new coaching staff as well, so there's a lot of excited people in the group and looking forward to Sunday. It's almost been a year since we've played so that's what we're using as fuel to get out there and pull on a black jersey."

All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree, who was still at the Hurricanes during last year's World Cup, believed there wouldn't be much hangover from Japan and praised the dedication he's seen this week from his players.

"That's dead and buried a long time ago. When the player gets his jersey on the weekend he'll feel gratitude around having another opportunity and that's the big part of the All Blacks and what the leaders drive. We feel privileged and honoured to have the opportunity and players just love that jersey and this environment.

"That's one thing that stuck out for me, to see Sam Whitelock who's played so many tests but still living each moment in test week and loving it."

The first Bledisloe match kicks off at 4pm at Sky Stadium in Wellington.


Team: 15-Damian McKenzie, 14-Jordie Barrett, 13-Rieko Ioane, 12-Jack Goodhue, 11-George Bridge, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Sam Cane (captain), 6-Shannon Frizell, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody

Replacements: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18-Nepo Laulala, 19-Tupou Vaa'i, 20-Hoskins Sotutu, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Anton Lienert-Brown, 23-Caleb Clarke


Team: 15-Tom Banks, 14-Filipo Daugunu, 13-Hunter Paisami, 12-Matt Toomua, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-James O'Connor, 9-Nic White, 8-Pete Samu, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6-Harry Wilson, 5-Matt Philip, 4-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3-Taniela Tupou, 2-Folau Fainga'a, 1-James Slipper

Replacements: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-Scott Sio, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Rob Simmons, 20-Rob Valetini, 21-Jake Gordon, 22-Noah Lolesio, 23-Reece Hodge







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