New Zealand make one change to team for World Cup final against South Africa

New Zealand have made a single change to their starting side to take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final.

Brodie Retallick is promoted from the bench to partner Scott Barrett in the second row, with Sam Whitelock, who will become the first man to feature in three World Cup finals in his last All Blacks Test, on the bench.

Prop Nepo Laulala is brought on to the bench to provide experienced tighthead cover in the only other change to the matchday 23 that secured such a commanding semi-final win over Argentina.

It means that head coach Ian Foster has kept a traditional five-three forwards to backs bench split despite the Springboks opting to include just a single back replacement in a bold selection call.

“It is an honour to fly our nation’s flag in the World Cup final once again,” said Foster. “We are proud of what we have achieved so far in this tournament, but the job is not done yet and we know full well the challenge that lies ahead.

“Of the seven World Cups that have been held outside of New Zealand, the All Blacks have only managed to win one. It goes to show just how hard it is to do but this group is determined to work hard for each other, as we have done all year.”

Brodie Retallick (left) replaces long-time second row partner Sam Whitelock (Getty Images)
Brodie Retallick (left) replaces long-time second row partner Sam Whitelock (Getty Images)

The All Blacks were beaten by South Africa at Twickenham in their final warm-up game before the tournament.

However, Foster’s men secured a win in Auckland against the Springboks in June on their way to a fourth consecutive Rugby Championship crown.

The winner of this game will become the first nation to lift the Webb Ellis Cup four times.

“Once again we have felt the support of an entire nation behind us,” added Foster. “We will definitely carry that with us when we go to Stade de France on Saturday.”

New Zealand team to face South Africa at the Stade de France (Saturday 28 October, kick off 8pm BST)

Starting XV: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Will Jordan, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Jordie Barrett, 11. Mark Tele’a, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. Ethan de Groot, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Scott Barrett, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 8. Ardie Savea

Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Tamaiti Williams, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Samuel Whitelock, 20. Dalton Papali’i, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Damian McKenzie, 23. Anton Lienert-Brown