Rugby-All Black Mo'unga at flyhalf, Frizell dropped for Australia test


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Bronze Final - New Zealand v Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - November 1, 2019 New Zealand's Richie Mo'unga lines up a conversion REUTERS/Issei Kato

(Reuters) -Richie Mo'unga will be the All Blacks' starting flyhalf against Australia for the first Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park on Saturday but loose forward Shannon Frizell has been dropped after a court appearance for assault.

Mo'unga's retention of the number 10 jersey consigns Beauden Barrett to the bench for a second straight test following last month's 60-13 thrashing of Fiji in Hamilton which sealed the series 2-0.

Frizell, who was on the bench in Hamilton, was accused of two offences of assaulting a woman and one charge of common assault at Dunedin District Court last week following an incident at a nightspot in May.

He issued an apology after being offered a diversion by the judge as a first-time offender, meaning he will work with police to take responsibility for the offence without acquiring a criminal record.

Brodie Retallick will start in the second row with captain Sam Whitelock, putting Scott Barrett on the bench in the matchday squad released on Thursday.

Starting scrumhalf Aaron Smith will play his 100th test as the All Blacks look to retain their 35-year winning streak against the Wallabies at Eden Park.

New Zealand have held the Bledisloe Cup, the annual trophy contested between the trans-Tasman nations, since 2003.

Coach Ian Foster switched Ardie Savea to number eight and installed Dalton Papalii on the openside flank in a rejig of the back row. George Bower has beaten the more experienced Karl Tu’inukuafe for starting loosehead prop.

"The Cup isn't ours; we have to go out and win it again," said Foster. "We can't wait for the weekend."

New Zealand matchday squad:

15-Damien McKenzie, 14-Sevu Reece, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 12-David Havili, 11-Rieko Ioane, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Dalton Papalii, 6-Akira Ioane, 5-Sam Whitelock (capt), 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-George Bower

Reserves: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18-Angus Ta’avao, 19-Scott Barrett, 20-Luke Jacobson, 21-Brad Weber, 22-Beauden Barrett, 23-Jordie Barrett

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Richard Pullin)

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