Fresh from his late-night, fast-food eating, navigational confusion in Dunedin, Jordie Barrett has the opportunity to make headlines for different reasons after being named at fullback for the first test against France on Saturday.

Barrett, 21, will play his third test for the All Blacks when he runs out on Eden Park in the No15 jersey, a decision which is perhaps the selectors' most interesting given it pushes Ben Smith on to the right wing and leaves no place in the match day squad for the seriously in-form Waisake Naholo.

If Barrett, who joins his brothers Scott and Beauden in the starting line-up, performs to expectations and remains injury-free following the first test and the next in Wellington, his return to the deep south and the scene of his 5am wanderings with a mate following last weekend's Hurricanes' defeat to the Highlanders should be highly anticipated, not least by the large student contingent in the city.

Read more: Is nature or nurture behind the Barrett brothers' rugby success?

Advertisement

"It's a special night for the Barrett family with Beaudy, Scott and Jordie all starting the test match, the first trio of All Black brothers to do so, so we congratulate them on their historic milestone," coach Steve Hansen said.

Until now Jordie Barrett's decision-making has been top-notch and he has shown an uncanny ability to stay composed no matter the circumstances or opposition. His performance in the drawn third test against the British and Irish Lions last year, when he set up a try for fellow newcomer Ngani Laumape and scored one himself, was one of the high points in a disappointing All Black performance.

Read more: Another change of direction for Ben Smith

After being given a metaphorical clip around the ears by Hansen and company, Barrett will be expected to be a safe presence at the back where his 1.96m frame and leaping ability means he is rarely beaten under the high ball. He can be a bruising presence.

It is that reliability and commitment which has likely earned him his selection and there is safety too on the right plus a great deal of experience and leadership now that vice-captain Smith has moved there. It is tough, though, on Naholo, who scrapped and ran himself to a standstill against the Hurricanes.

Rieko Ioane, last season's breakout player of the year and one of the best strike weapons in the game, is on the left wing.

Read more: Five stats to know about the All Blacks team to face France

With skipper Sam Whitelock and the team's other vice-captain Sam Cane passed fit, the pack has, thankfully for the All Blacks given their recent injury issues, a predictable look to it, with Luke Whitelock a safe option at No8 and Liam Squire at blindside flanker. It is the All Black pack that the French will probably attack first given the
absence of lock Brodie Retallick.

Advertisement

The selectors have clearly put a premium on defence.

Luke Whitelock is one of the best tacklers in Super Rugby and the midfield of Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown will give the All Black backline solidity in the absence of Sonny Bill Williams.

With Jordie Barrett patrolling the back for the almost inevitable high-ball barrage, the coaches will hope most contingencies are covered.

Chiefs loosehead prop Karl Tu'inukuafe has the opportunity to play his first test after being named on the reserves bench, with the selectors deciding to name two loose forwards there — Vaea Fifita and Ardie Savea.

"It has been a spectacular rise for Karl," Hansen said.

Damian McKenzie has predictably received the nod as Beauden Barrett's back-up.

All Blacks team to play France

15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Luke Whitelock, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Liam Squire, 5. Scott Barrett, 4. Sam Whitelock (c), 3. Owen Franks, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Joe Moody.

Reserves: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Ofa Tuungafasi, 19. Vaea Fifita, 20. Ardie Savea, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Damian McKenzie, 23. Ngani Laumape.