Cheapening the jersey? All Blacks hand out EIGHT new caps for Japan

ALL Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named an unprecedented eight new caps in his team to play Japan in Tokyo on Saturday (4.45pm AEDT), as debate rages in New Zealand as to whether he is cheapening the famous Test jersey.

Two new All Blacks have been named in the starting XV — Auckland flanker Dalton Papalii and Wellington centre Matt Proctor — with six more players set to make their Test debuts from the bench: prop Tyrel Lomax, loose forwards Gareth Evans and Dillon Hunt, halfback Mitch Drummond, five-eighth Brett Cameron and outside back George Bridge.

It will be the second appearance in the black jersey for Hunt and Drummond who played the non-Test against the France XV on last year’s northern tour.

Hansen has opted to field a second string lineup against Japan and fly his top team (bar five-eighth Richie Mo’unga) — who played against the Wallabies last Saturday — to London to prepare for the blockbuster Test against England at Twickenham.

ALL BLACKS (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Matt Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Waisake Naholo, Richie Mo’unga, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Luke Whitelock (c), Dalton Papalii, Vaea Fifita, Jackson Hemopo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Angus Ta’avao, Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Tim Perry, Tyrel Lomax, Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Mitch Drummond, Brett Cameron, George Bridge

The All Blacks team to play Japan.Source:Getty Images

Highlanders No 8 Luke Whitelock will captain the side for the first time in a Test — joining Sam as the only brothers to lead the All Blacks in full internationals.

Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles returns to the Test lineup after missing the entire Super Rugby season through injury.

“Firstly, on behalf of the entire All Blacks squad, we want to congratulate those players who’ll be making their Test debuts,” Hansen said.

“It’s an exciting and special time for those players and their families, as well as their teammates who join them in recognising their achievement.

“We also congratulate Luke on becoming the latest All Blacks Test captain.

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All Blacks Patrick Tuipulotu and Dalton Papalii pose with Kanata samurai swords.Source:Getty Images

“He’s a natural leader, did a fantastic job leading the team against the French XV last year, and will be ably assisted by the senior players in the team.

“The team’s really excited at what lies ahead.

“While this is a relatively inexperienced group, the expectation is that when you pull on the black jersey, then a top performance is required.

“It’s important that the players embrace the expectation and enjoy it.

“They’ve prepared well this week and will bring an unbridled enthusiasm that comes with that excitement.

“We know they’ll go out on Saturday and proudly represent the jersey, themselves, their families and their country.

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Kickoff times for this weekend’s Tests.Source:FOX SPORTS

“We’re expecting Japan to play a high tempo, hit and run game as opposed to having an arm wrestle.”

Adding intrigue to the Test is that Japan are coached by three New Zealanders — Jamie Joseph, Tony Brown and John Plumtree.

“We know their coaching staff very well and have a lot of respect for them and no doubt they’ll have a trick or two up their sleeve,” Hansen said.

“So we’ll need to be sharp of mind and bring our own physicality and intensity to the contest.

“We again look forward to playing in front of the Japanese fans, and on behalf of the entire All Blacks squad, want to thank the Japanese people for their hospitality and support.

“We look forward to seeing them next year.”

Luke Whitelock and brother Sam in action for the All Blacks.Source:Getty Images



Nicolas and Juan Fernandez Miranda — 2002 and 2005


Derby and Bob Loudon — 1922 and 1928


Frederic and Lennard Stokes — 1871 and 1880


Moses and Jacob Rauluni — 2004 and 2005


Simon and Rory Best — 2007 and 2009


Nello and Rino Francescato — 1979 and 1984


Gavin and Paul Williams — 2009 and 2013

Andy and Alesana Tuilagi — 2014 and 2015


Fe’ao and Elisi Vunipola — 1994 and 1999

Inoke and Stanley Afeaki — 2001 and 2003


Bob and Arthur Gould — 1887 and 1889

Billy and Jack Bancroft — 1898 and 1912

Bleddyn and Lloyd Williams — 1953 and 1961

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Rugby: World Rugby has announced its four nominees for 2018 try of the year – and sadly for the Wallabies, two of them were scored against them!

Originally published as Cheapening the jersey? All Blacks hand out EIGHT new caps for Japan

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