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10 October 2020 04:34

Hurricanes New South Wales Waratahs TJ Perenara

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Bledisloe Cup: All Blacks cop late blow as Beauden Barrett ruled out

All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett is a late scratching from Sunday's Bledisloe Cup opener in Wellington. Despite being named on Friday by New Zealand coach Ian Foster to wear the No.15 jersey, despite having a preference to start at five-eighth, the All Blacks confirmed Barrett wouldn't take his place on the field for the first rugby Test in the world since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrett has picked up a minor achilles injury and team officials felt it was too much of a risk to play him against a Wallabies side desperate to get off to a favourable start in the four-match Bledisloe series. All Blacks captain Sam Cane concedes it's disappointing to lose Beauden Barrett to injury on the eve of the first Bledisloe Cup match, but it hasn't dampened his excitement for the team's first test in almost a year. Barrett has been ruled out of Sunday afternoon's clash in Wellington with an achilles injury that flared up at training.

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Cane, who will lead the team for the first time since becoming the All Blacks new skipper, can't wait for kickoff on Sunday afternoon in Wellington. Coach Ian Foster said Barrett's injury isn't severe and he'll likely be available for next weekend's second test against the Wallabies in Auckland. Beaudy's achilles flared up a little bit at training yesterday afternoon," coach Ian Foster said at Saturday's captains run. Foster said bringing McKenzie to replace Barrett was the least disruptive option for the team. The All Blacks suffered a serious injury blow Saturday on the eve of the opening Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Wellington with fullback Beauden Barrett forced to withdraw with an Achilles tendon injury.

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All Blacks coach Ian Foster said Barrett's injury flared up during training on Friday and while it settled overnight it was decided not to risk playing him. Although Jordie Barrett, who will start on the wing against Australia, has been the standout fullback in New Zealand this year, Foster said it was logical to bring in McKenzie. Damian McKenzie; Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge; Richie Mounga, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell; Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu; Ofa Tu'ungafas, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody Beauden Barrett has been ruled out of the Bledisloe Cup opener due to an achilles injury. ALEX LIU/STUFF All Blacks coach Ian Foster says the more Jordie Barrett can be involved in the game the better. Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images Damian McKenzie will play his first test since November 2018, at fullback for an injured Beauden Barrett.

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Foster raised some eyebrows on Friday by naming Jordie Barrett on the right wing in the same breath as labelling him "the form fullback" in the country after a memorable Super Rugby campaign for the Hurricanes. McKenzie also fills the dual playmaker role as Richie Mo'unga's backup, although Foster said on Friday that first five-eighth remained a work in progress for McKenzie and Jordie Barrett. But McKenzie, who missed the Rugby World Cup with injury and didn't play a test last year, had the side's backing. "He [Barrett] could have played at a push but there's a fair bit of rugby ahead and I've got full confidence in Damian stepping up," said new captain Sam Cane. All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Jack Goodhue, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (c), Shannon Frizell, Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.

Just when it looked as if the All Blacks' Bledisloe buildup could hardly have gone better, coach Ian Foster trotted across the Sky Stadium turf and hopped the fence. "Beaudy is out, and Damian's in at 15," the coach deadpanned, just over 24 hours out from the first test against the Wallabies in Wellington. Named at fullback on Friday, Beauden Barrett suffered a tight achilles tendon at training and was ruled out on Saturday, with Damian McKenzie slotting straight into the No 15 jersey after missing the original 23 for the first test of 2020. With the second Bledisloe in Auckland next Sunday, Foster expected Beauden Barrett to be available, rating this one a minor injury. Foster raised some eyebrows on Friday by naming Jordie Barrett on the right wing in the same breath as labelling him "the form fullback" in the country after a memorable Super Rugby campaign for the Hurricanes. McKenzie also fills the dual playmaker role as Richie Mo'unga's backup, although Foster said on Friday that first five-eighth remained a work in progress for McKenzie and Jordie Barrett. But McKenzie, who missed the Rugby World Cup with injury and didn't play a test last year, had the side's backing. "He [Barrett] could have played at a push but there's a fair bit of rugby ahead and I've got full confidence in Damian stepping up," said new captain Sam Cane.

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