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Luke Whitelock to skipper All Blacks

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Date published: November 12 2017

The All Blacks have named number eight Luke Whitelock as captain for their game against a French XV at Groupama Stadium in Lyon on Tuesday.

Whitelock, who was called into the New Zealand squad last week, will lead the side for the first time in what is a young, exciting line-up.

14 players from the team which played the Barbarians return to the matchday 23 and six new All Blacks have been named: Jack Goodhue is at centre, while on the reserves bench Atu Moli has been named as prop cover. Akira Ioane and Dillon Hunt are loose forward cover off the bench. Mitch Drummond is reserve half-back and Richie Mo’unga is the other reserve back.

“This is another exciting opportunity for a young, group of men to go out and experience what it’s like to wear the All Blacks jersey and deal with all the pressures that come with that. We are sure that they will represent themselves, their families and the All Blacks proudly,” said All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen.

“Whilst Luke Whitelock is only playing his second game for the All Blacks, he was an obvious choice as captain given his experience and leadership as captain of both the Highlanders and Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup team. On behalf of the All Blacks, we’d like to congratulate Luke as well as the players who are pulling on the black jersey for the first time. It will be a proud moment for all of them.”

Hansen added: “This match was included in the Vista Northern Tour itinerary at our request to allow us to provide an extra opportunity for this group. It’ll allow us to continue to grow our depth, which will not only bode well for the here and now, but also 2019 and well beyond.

“This group has trained well and we’re looking forward to watching them play at this level. We’re expecting another boisterous crowd of 60,000 in Lyon which will create an exciting atmosphere for them and we’re all looking forward to it.”

New Zealand: 15 David Havili, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Luke Whitelock (c), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Tim Perry
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Dillon Hunt, 22 Mitch Drummond, 23 Richie Mo’unga

Date: Tuesday, November 14
Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon
Kick-off: 19:30 local (18:30 GMT)

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