(Reuters) - Luke Whitelock, only drafted into the New Zealand squad as an injury replacement last week, will skipper the All Blacks against a France XV at the Parc Olympique in Lyon on Tuesday, coach Steve Hansen announced on Sunday.
Whitelock is due to leave the tour party after the game having been called up as emergency cover for injured Jerome Kaino. Whitelock had been in London to play for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at the start of their five-match November tour.
But Hansen decided the 26-year-old loose forward, younger brother of first choice lock Sam Whitelock, was the best fit to captain a second string side in a match where the fringe players in the squad will get a run out.
“He was an obvious choice as captain given his experience and leadership as captain of both the Highlanders and Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup team,” said Hansen.
Whitelock won a single cap for New Zealand four years ago.
Caps will not be awarded for Tuesday’s outing but for Jack Goodhue, who starts at centre, and five of the seven replacements it is a chance for a first run out in an All Blacks jersey.
“This match was included in the 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,” Hansen added.
The world champions beat the Barbarians at Twickenham 31-22 and then France 38-18 in their test in Paris last Saturday.
After Tuesday’s game, the All Blacks travel to Edinburgh to meet Scotland on Saturday before ending their tour against Wales in Cardiff on Nov. 25.
Team: 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 (captain), 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.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Christian Radnedge