All Blacks vs Uruguay (Rugby World Cup 2023) Preview

History will be made in Lyon when the All Blacks and Uruguay meet for the first time in a Test match as the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup draw to a close.

MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks vs Uruguay, Thursday 5 October, 9 pm CET. (Friday 6 October, 8 am NZT)

Referee: Wayne Barnes


The All Blacks sent an ominous warning to all contenders with a 96-17 victory over Italy last week. With many pundits picking a close scoreline against an improving Italy side, the All Blacks ran in 14 tries to secure a bonus point in emphatic fashion. Uruguay have been impressive throughout their World Cup campaign. They pushed France hard before coming up short 12-27 in their opening game. They led Italy 17-7 at the break in their second game before succumbing 17-38. In game three, they took out Namibia 36-26 to pick up their first win of the tournament. Uruguay is currently ranked 17th on the World Rankings while the All Blacks are fourth.


A bonus-point win for the All Blacks will secure qualification for the quarterfinals as even if France, Italy, and New Zealand all finish on 15 points, the All Blacks have the better points difference (+133 to France’s +125 and Italy -14). Italy would then qualify on head-to-head rule over France for second.


Regular captain Sam Cane has returned to the starting side for the final pool game after recovering fully from a back complaint. Tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax has also been named in the run-on side for the first time at this Rugby World Cup while flanker Ethan Blackadder is in line to make his tournament debut from the reserves. Other changes to the team see lock Tupou Vaa’i, number eight Luke Jacobson, halfback Cam Roigard, centre Anton Lienert-Brown, winger Leicester Fainga’anuku, and fullback Damian McKenzie brought into the starting XV.


Uruguay wing Nicolas Freitas said the team had trained hard all week and were not daunted by facing the All Blacks for the first time: “We are enjoying it to the fullest; it is the last week in France, and we play against the All Blacks,” Freitas said. “We are going to try to attack them with the few opportunities of having the ball. It is very difficult to play against and defend them. Playing on equal terms with the All Blacks is very difficult. But the pressure is not on us. We are going to enjoy it and live a unique experience.”


After earning global accolades last weekend for becoming the most-capped All Blacks with 149 Tests, lock Sam Whitelock achieves another milestone this week – his 150th Test for the All Blacks. Only legendary Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones has played more Tests than Whitelock with 171 across a career that spanned from 2006 to his retirement from international rugby in May 2023.


Captain Sam Cane is back in the saddle and raring to go for his first start at the tournament following a lower back issue. “We’ve made good progress in some key areas of our game following the Bordeaux week when we got to put in a lot of work, and it was pleasing to see those shine through in the game against Italy,” Cane said. “The challenge for us is to back that up and keep strengthening those key areas and put out another good performance which could put us in a good spot.”


This will be the 23rd different test opposition the All Blacks have faced in their history, and the first time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Georgia that they have played a team for the first time.


All Blacks (caps in brackets): 1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (56) 2. Codie Taylor (81) 3. Tyrel Lomax (28) 4. Samuel Whitelock (149) 5. Tupou Vaa’i (24) 6. Shannon Frizell (29) 7. Sam Cane (91) 8. Luke Jacobson (17) 9. Cam Roigard (4) 10. Richie Mo’unga (52) 11. Leicester Fainga’anuku (5) 12. Jordie Barrett (53) 13. Anton Lienert-Brown (66) 14. Will Jordan (27) 15. Damian McKenzie (44)

Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (27) 17. Tamaiti Williams (4) 18. Fletcher Newell (10) 19. Scott Barrett (65) 20. Ethan Blackadder (9) 21. Finlay Christie (18) 22. Beauden Barrett (119) 23. Caleb Clarke (19)

Uruguay: 1 Mateo Sanguinetti 2 German Kessler 3 Diego Arbelo 4 Ignacio Dotti 5 Manuel Leindekar 6 Manuel Ardao 7 Lucas Bianchi 8 Manuel Diana 9 Santiago Arata 10 Felipe Etcheverry 11 Nicolas Freitas 12 Andres Vilaseca (c) 13 Tomas Inciarte 14 Gaston Mieres 15 Rodrigo Silva

Reserves: 16 Guillermo Pujadas 17 Matias Benitez 18 Ignacio Peculo 19 Juan Manuel Rodríguez 20 Santiago Civetta 21 Agustin Ormaechea 22 Felipe Berchesi 23 Juan Manuel Alonso

Leave a Comment