In picking Jack Goodhue and Waisake Naholo to fill the contentious positions of centre and wing, the All Blacks have given the Wallabies a big clue about what will be coming at them on Saturday night.

Which is high-paced attacking football — the sort the All Blacks hope will be clinical to the point of being ruthless.

Being better at seeing and then finishing attacking opportunities is a big theme for the All Blacks in this Rugby Championship.

They weren't so good last year at realising where their opposition were vulnerable in a specific rather than general sense.


They knew broadly where to exploit but didn't always do it with the precision or awareness that was required.

They didn't always attack with everyone alive to when and where to pass and it's in this regard that Goodhue made himself the All Blacks' preferred choice at centre in Sydney.

Goodhue brings many things to the arena. He can be a brick wall when he needs to be: a tough defender and selfless runner, carrying into the traffic.

But the more relevant skill Goodhue brings is his selfless ability to play others into space, particularly his awareness and execution when there is a two-on-one.

Goodhue is brilliant at it and the All Blacks want that asset against the Wallabies. They obviously want Goodhue's distribution ability in the midfield where he will be asked to utilise the pace and power of Rieko Ioane and Naholo.

Clearly the All Blacks are going to be moving the ball wide on Saturday and unleash their two wings who can be just about unstoppable if they are given space in which to work.

Who to pick at centre and the configuration of the back three were the only areas of prolonged discussion for the selectors and once they fixed on Goodhue, it was perhaps logical they would then opt for Naholo ahead of using Jordie Barrett at fullback and putting Ben Smith on the wing.

The attraction of Barrett at fullback is his height and ability in the air to diffuse the aerial threat of Israel Folau.


The Wallabies showed against Ireland in June that they are more confident using Folau as an aerial weapon and the All Blacks will be expecting to see a continuation.

They have picked Goodhue to facilitate their plan to play a high tempo game that stretches the Wallabies wide and forces the twin turnover threat of star loose forwards Michael Hooper and David Pocock to hunt for the ball separately rather than in combination.

And if they are going wide then Naholo is the better attacking option than Barrett, with Damian McKenzie poised to come off the bench and accelerate the pace.

All Blacks team
15: Ben Smith
14: Waisake Naholo
13: Jack Goodhue
12: Ryan Crotty
11: Rieko Ioane
10: Beauden Barrett
9: Aaron Smith
8: Kieran Read (c)
7: Sam Cane
6: Liam Squire
5: Sam Whitelock
4: Brodie Retallick
3: Owen Franks
2: Codie Taylor
1: Joe Moody

16. Nathan Harris
17. Karl Tu'inukuafe
18. Ofa Tuungafasi
19. Scott Barrett
20. Ardie Savea
21. TJ Perenara
22. Damian McKenzie
23. Anton Lienert-Brown