TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Scott Barrett has been surprisingly named to start at blindside flanker for the New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup semi-final against England on Saturday, with Ardie Savea shifting to the openside of the scrum.
Sam Cane, who had operated in a twin-openside combination with Savea since the All Blacks match against Australia in Perth in August, has dropped to the bench for the clash at Yokohama Stadium.
Barrett, who normally plays at lock, spent about 15 minutes of the 46-14 quarter-final victory over Ireland last Saturday playing in the number six jersey in what coach Steve Hansen said had been a tactical decision.
The 25-year-old’s inclusion in an otherwise unchanged starting side from that which beat Ireland adds an extra dimension to the All Blacks lineout and some additional size in the collision area.
England name their team later on Thursday.
Team: 15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Sevu Reece, 13-Jack Goodhue, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 11-George Bridge, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read (captain), 7-Ardie Savea, 6-Scott Barrett, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody
Replacements: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Ofa Tuungafasi, 18-Angus Ta’avao, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Sam Cane, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Sonny Bill Williams, 23-Jordie Barrett. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Mitch Phillips)