Seven World Cup rookies and an enthusiasm to cut loose should have Canada on notice.

Such is their strength and depth, this All Blacks team has the potential to threaten their highest winning margin of 66 points from six previous matches against Canada, set in 1995 in Auckland.

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Four years earlier, at the 1991 World Cup, Canada got within 16 points of the All Blacks in Lille, France, but at better gauge of their current state is their loss to Brazil in February during the Americas Rugby Championship.


Conditions, with rain forecast to hit Oita, may not assist the up-tempo attacking brand the All Blacks continue to embrace but their backline, in particular, has a lethal edge this week.

After long layoffs from the starting team, Rieko Ioane and Jordie Barrett will be hungry for work and keen to impress on the wings.

With Beauden Barrett retained alongside them at fullback, chances for the outside backs to strike should abound.

Attacking opportunities will come, too, from the physical midfield pairing of Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue.

Look to the bench, and there appears no let up for Canada either.

Brad Weber is one of seven players – Atu Moli, Matt Todd, Ioane, Goodhue, Jordie Barrett and Liam Coltman the others – preparing to play his first World Cup match.

The Chiefs halfback will only increase the pace and tempo when his boarding pass arrives, as will Ardie Savea and Codie Taylor.

What a luxury it is to leave 81-test veteran Ben Smith on the bench for the second time at this tournament too.


With so many rookies set to be unleashed and an opposition in Canada who are ranked 22nd in the world there is, perhaps, a danger the All Blacks could push for too much too early and get caught up in attempting to play a festival style that leads to more mistakes than magic moments.

But rather than worry about curbing enthusiasm that comes with taking the field for the field time at the global showpiece, the All Blacks are instead encouraging their rookies, and those such as Ioane and Barrett returning to the starting team, to play their natural game.

All Blacks captain Kieran Read during his press conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell
All Blacks captain Kieran Read during his press conference. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"I don't think you want to put it on too much of a leash," All Blacks captain Kieran Read said. "You want to see the excitement. A lot of them playing their first World Cup games it's exciting for them. We want to do our jersey proud and it's another occasion for that.

"There's nothing better than playing in a World Cup and getting that opportunity.

"We've got focuses we want to nail in this game and you want to stay in as much structure as possible but if opportunities present themselves hopefully the guys can take them. But in saying that, we certainly want to play within how we want to move forward within this tournament.

"On the field if something has to be said you say it."


All Blacks coach Steve Hansen echoed the views of his skipper.

"We've always had a philosophy to play what's in front of you so if it's on to push it then we'll push it and if it's not then we'll do something else," Hansen said.

"We had a great reminder about that the other day didn't we? If you disrespect the opponent then you get a punch on the nose and we did that in Perth so we can't afford to do that again.

"We'll go out and play the way want to play. We're confident that we'll get a performance that we're after."

The All Blacks team to face Canada:

15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Jordie Barrett, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 9. TJ Perenara, 8. Kieran Read (c), 7. Matt Todd, 6. Shannon Frizell, 5. Scott Barrett, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 3. Angus Ta'avao, 2. Liam Coltman, 1. Atu Moli.



16. Codie Taylor, 17. Ofa Tuungafasi, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Sam Whitelock, 20. Ardie Savea, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Ryan Crotty, 23. Ben Smith

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