Beauden Barrett would welcome the appointment of Ian Foster as head coach to provide "continuity" for New Zealand.

Steve Hansen's trophy-laden reign came to an end after the All Blacks failed to win an unprecedented third successive Rugby World Cup.

Assistant coach Foster is reportedly among the leading contenders to step up and replace Hansen.

Two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Barrett believes Foster fits the bill for the top job.

"He's a very intelligent coach. A great team man and hopefully we can have some continuity going forward," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"Steve's legacy is a very strong one. His win percentage speaks for itself. I think the biggest thing with Steve is the way he makes his players feel. Trust and confidence.

"We know he 100 per cent has our back. As a player that's all you can really ask for. He's taught me a lot along the way and I'm very lucky for that."

Barrett says New Zealand were happy to see South Africa lift the Webb Ellis Cup on Saturday with a defeat of an England side that dethroned them at the semi-final stage.

"To be fair we were probably supporting them. It's nice to see a Southern Hemisphere team and players that we are so familiar with and have friendships with lift the trophy," he added.

"If it couldn't be us, we were encouraging them to win."

South Africa were crowned champions of the world with the best player on the planet this weekend but not even Pieter-Steph du Toit could make the Opta team of the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks overpowered England at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday and lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time after a commanding 32-12 victory.

Outstanding lock Du Toit was crowned World Rugby Player of the Year the following day and Rassie Erasmus was named the top coach in the world at a ceremony in Tokyo.

Yet there were no Springboks in the Opta team of the tournament, with Japan's South Africa-born back-row Pieter Labuschagne in at number seven ahead of Du Toit.

There were four New Zealand players and as many from the host nation Japan in the Opta XV.

Players had to have been on the field for at least 320 minutes, or 240 for props, to be eligible for selection, with tries, carries, metres carried, offloads, turnovers assists and tackle success contributing to earn points.

New Zealand playmaker Beauden Barrett, twice named the best player in the world, claimed the most points in the competition.

 

Opta's Rugby World Cup team of the tournament: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), Kotaro Matsushima (Japan), Manu Tuilagi (England), Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand), Semi Radradra (Fiji), Richie Mo'unga (New Zealand), Gareth Davies (Wales); Joe Moody (New Zealand), Shota Horie (Japan), Kyle Sinckler (England), Maro Itoje (England), Kane Le'aupepe (Samoa), Chris Vui (Samoa), Pieter Labuschagne (Japan), Kazuki Himeno (Japan).

Ben Smith marked his swansong with a double as New Zealand ended the Steve Hansen era by hammering Wales 40-17 in an entertaining Rugby World Cup third-place play-off.

The All Blacks had been licking their wounds since England shattered their bid to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third successive time last weekend and responded like champions at Tokyo Stadium on Friday.

Smith, recalled for one final Test before joining Top 14 side Pau, touched down twice in a frantic first half following scores from Joe Moody and Beauden Barrett as the All Blacks turned on the style.

Ryan Crotty, also donning the famous jersey for the last time along with legendary captain Kieran Read, crossed following the interval after the lively Smith had a third ruled out.

Richie Mo'unga claimed New Zealand's sixth try of the night late on to take his points tally to 13 and Read was inspirational in his farewell Test as the two-time defending champions fittingly finished Hansen's glorious reign with a victory

Hallam Amos crossed in the first half and Josh Adams took his tournament-leading try-scoring tally to seven, but the clinical All Blacks sealed a 31rd win in a row over injury-hit Wales in Warren Gatland's last game in charge.

The holders had no answer to a blistering start from England last weekend, but they began on the front foot six days later and Moody took a one-handed pass from a charging Brodie Retallick to go over five minutes in.

Barrett sprinted under the posts all too easily after Aaron Smith's no-look pass left a sluggish Wales defence flat-footed and Mo'unga ​– who missed an early penalty – converted for the second time.

Wales clicked into a gear and Amos showed a sharp turn of foot to finish superbly after a sustained spell of pressure and a Rhys Patchell penalty reduced the deficit to four points.

The Grand Slam winners continued to look vulnerable at the other end, though, and Ben Smith burst down the middle and somehow evaded three tackles and dot down.

The 33-year-old flyer finished clinically again on the stroke of half-time after taking an exceptional whipped pass from his mercurial namesake Aaron, Mo'unga adding the extras expertly from the touchline.

Sonny Bill Williams, also playing what is expected to be his last match for his country, set up the onrushing Crotty for a fifth All Blacks try after Ben Smith was denied a hat-trick due to a knock-on.

The lively Adams dived over from close range at the other end after captain Alun Wyn Jones came off to a standing ovation in what is almost certainly his final World Cup appearance.

New Zealand were not at their fluent best in the second half, but Mo'unga had the final say by crashing over four minutes from time to round off an emphatic win.

Steve Hansen is hopeful Beauden Barrett's performance levels will improve even further playing alongside his brothers in New Zealand's next pool match at the Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks began their campaign with victory over South Africa, in the process taking a huge early step towards the knockout stages of the tournament.

Their next outing is against Canada; while it is expected to be a more straightforward affair, Hansen has still named a strong New Zealand side.

Included in the XV are brothers Beauden, Jordie and Scott Barrett, becoming just the second trio of siblings to start together in a World Cup match - after Tonga's Vunipola brothers in 2015.

Beauden Barrett is a two-time World Rugby Player of the Year and starred against the Springboks, playing at full-back rather than his usual position of fly-half.

Yet Hansen is optimistic the 28-year-old will be inspired to produce an even more impressive display in familiar company.

"We know he's got all the skills in the world but he's in a hurry, you know," Hansen said. "He's got two brothers who are ahead of him.

"If you're in a contest with your siblings, you're always in a hurry - because you want to prove to not only yourself but your two siblings and everybody else that you're better than they are."

Hansen is also excited to see Jordie Barrett out on the field against Canada, although he acknowledges there are areas of the 22-year-old's game that still need honing.

"He's a very confident young man is our Jordie - and he has every right to be confident," the coach said. "He's a very skilled player.

"It's not his confidence that we need to get right, it's just his understanding and his pace of how he wants to play. He wants to do it at 100 miles an hour.

"We've talked about that before in the media and he's making good progress, so we're pretty excited by where he's going to end up one day."

Were Canada to get any sort of result against the All Blacks, it would go down as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

But Hansen admitted he had enjoyed taking in another shock result at the weekend when Japan defeated Ireland, who are seen by many as one of the major rivals for New Zealand's crown.

"You wouldn't get a better game of rugby. I thought [Japan] were outstanding in their performance," Hansen said.

"And their speed of ball was great, their line speed was awesome, they just kept coming, didn't they? Time after time after time and showed a lot of courage, a lot of intent, and a lot of skills.

"So hats off to them, it was a really great performance and one that the whole of Japan should be proud of."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Zealand - Beauden Barrett

Barrett is a joy to watch at the best of times given his outstanding speed, but the opportunity to take on inferior opponents like Canada should see him really make hay. If the makeshift full-back lifts his level even further as Hansen suggests, the Canucks could be in real trouble.

Canada - Conor Trainor

This match comes eight years to the day since the sides' previous World Cup meeting, in which Trainor also played. In fact, not only did he play but he also scored - twice. Trainor is the only player to have tallied a pair of tries against the All Blacks in the World Cup in the 21st century. A repeat would make for some story.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- New Zealand have won each of their previous five Tests against Canada, with their most recent four victories in that run coming by 50 points or more.
- The All Blacks have won each of their last 15 Rugby World Cup matches, the longest run by any side in the tournament's history.
- They also boast a 100 per cent win rate in pool stage matches at the World Cup (29/29).
- New Zealand have scored at least one try in each of their past 27 World Cup matches, a record for any nation in the tournament, last failing to do so against South Africa in 1999.
- Canada are winless in their past eight World Cup matches. Prior to this run, they had never gone more than four matches without victory in the tournament.

Beauden, Scott and Jordie Barrett will become the first trio of brothers to start for New Zealand when the All Blacks face Canada at the Rugby World Cup.

Wednesday's Pool B fixture against Canada at Oita Stadium will see the Barrett siblings become just the second trio of brothers to start in a World Cup match after the Tongan Vunipola brothers in 1995.

All Blacks star Beauden Barrett and brother Scott retain their places in the XV following the world champions' opening victory over South Africa, with head coach Steve Hansen making 11 changes.

New Zealand veteran Sonny Bill Williams is handed his first start of the showpiece tournament, along with Rieko Ioane, while TJ Perenara also slots into the line-up.

"Our aim is to win the next two Pool matches against Canada and Namibia, as well as continuing to grow our game and manage the workload across the group. With two games four days apart, it's obvious that we need to use our whole squad," Hansen said.

"Whilst there's a huge amount of energy and excitement amongst the whole team about what lies ahead, this week there has been a real focus on ourselves and our own standards.

"We've been working hard. We know we have to keep growing our game. We've always been demanding of ourselves when it comes to continued improvement, and that will never change. By doing so, it allows us to have the right attitude, intent and execution.

"When it comes to our preparation, it should never be about who we are playing, but how we are preparing individually and as a team, both mentally and physically. By doing this, it means you always respect your opponent and the jersey."

 

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara; Atu Moli, Liam Coltman, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Scott Barrett, Shane Frizell, Matt Todd, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Samuel Whitelock, Ardie Savea, Brad Weber, Ryan Crotty, Ben Smith.

Kieran Read was pleased with the clinical edge New Zealand showed as they saw off South Africa 23-13 in their opening game at the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks started the highly anticipated Pool B clash in Yokohama - which will also host the final - positively but only scored three points through Handre Pollard during their period of dominance.

When Richie Mo'unga set upon a loose pass from Faf de Klerk and was illegally challenged by Makazole Mapimpi, the fly-half restored parity and kick-started a six-minute spell in which the reigning champions racked up 17 points.

George Bridge scored his eighth try in six Tests before a handling error from Pollard preceded Scott Barrett running in the All Blacks' second.

Pieter-Steph du Toit made the most of some slack New Zealand defending after the restart and Pollard was successful with a drop-goal from distance, but Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett kept the Springboks at arm's length from the tee.

"It was a heck of Test match. It was the full 80 minutes that we had to work," said All Blacks skipper Read.

"You're fortunate [that] sometimes it just happens in those couple of moments and we managed to take them. That's probably the difference in the game.

"We had to defend a little bit early on and when you don't have the ball you can't do too much, so when we did get opportunities we wanted to try to speed the game up."

Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi was frustrated his team did not punish New Zealand further when they had the chance, having reduced their arrears to four points in the second half.

"I think we took too long to get into the game," said Kolisi, despite his side appearing to be firmly on top during the first quarter.

"I think we stuck to our guns and our plan worked in the second half. We wanted to score first and it happened, but we couldn't capitalise on our opportunities."

Beauden Barrett, who started at full-back, played on with a bloody nose after being hit in the face by Duane Vermeulen's boot when trying to tackle the forward.

Barrett said: "It's a bit sore. It's never good getting a boot to the nose, especially from a big lad like Duane. You expect to take a few bumps when you play the Springboks, so it was worth it.

"We got to throw the ball around a bit – sometimes too much, it was a bit greasy out there, but there was some expansive rugby. If we can keep doing that all tournament that's what we're here for."

New Zealand will need to hit the ground running in their bid to win a third successive Rugby World Cup, as they begin their campaign in Pool B against South Africa on Saturday.

While hosts Japan and Russia kick off the 2019 edition of the tournament on Friday, it is tough not to look past that opening fixture and focus instead on the mouthwatering battle between two rugby heavyweights in Yokohama.

Champions in 2011 and 2015, the All Blacks are on a 14-match World Cup winning streak and are favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on November 2.

However, the Springboks held their opponents to a 16-16 draw in Wellington earlier this year on their way to winning the Rugby Championship for the first time since 2009, albeit it was a shortened season in a World Cup year.

Still, South Africa are seen by many as the main challengers to the reigning champions, even if All Blacks captain Kieran Read is confident his side know exactly what they will be up against.

"There is nothing special about the way they play. They do what they do well," he told the media. "They are physical‚ they're kicking well and they take the points when they're on offer using their strengths like their maul.

"They also have the ability to play off counter-attack and turn over ball from their backs. We know what is coming our way and that's great.

"We are in a good place to put a plan out that we think is going to match it."

A defeat would by no means be a hammer blow to either team's hopes - South Africa lost their first game four years ago to Japan but still made the semi-finals, where they lost 20-18 to New Zealand - but finishing second in the group may, if things run according to form, lead to a tricky quarter-final tie with Ireland.

The Boks will honour Chester Williams this weekend, wearing a jersey with the 1995 World Cup winner's image embedded into the numbers on the back. Williams died a fortnight ago, at the age of 49.

"Chester didn't like being the centre of attention," said South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus. "He never bragged about his role or expected anything for it, but he would have enjoyed being part of a Springbok-All Black Test match once more, I think."

Having called for a more balance approach to officiating at the World Cup, Erasmus has selected the same XV that were on duty for the 41-7 win over Japan in South Africa's final warm-up fixture, meaning Duane Vermeulen will appear in his 50th Test.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, meanwhile, named Richie Mo'unga at fly-half on Thursday with Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown in the centres, meaning Sonny Bill Williams is on a powerful bench.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Zealand - Beauden Barrett

So often the first-choice number 10, the brilliant Barrett will line up at full-back against South Africa. His selection there gives New Zealand an extra playmaking option in a back division that includes inexperienced wing duo George Bridge and Sevu Reece.

South Africa - Handre Pollard

Read and the rest of the All Blacks may know what to expect from their rivals, but they still need to find a way to nullify South Africa's threat. To that extent, fly-half Pollard's kicking game - both in open play and also off the tee - will be pivotal if the Boks are to prosper.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- The All Blacks have won 16 of their last 20 games against the Springboks. Each of the last four meetings have been decided by a margin of no greater than two points.

- New Zealand's run of 14 successive World Cup wins is the longest such streak by any nation in the tournament's history.

- South Africa have lost three of their last eight World Cup fixtures, as many as they had lost in their 28 World Cup outings previously.

- New Zealand have scored at least one try in each of their last 26 World Cup outings. The last opponents to prevent them crossing the line? South Africa, back in 1999.

- Barrett beat the most defenders (16) of any player in the 2019 Rugby Championship. His 47 carries for 202 metres gained gave him the second highest totals in those categories.

- South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit made the most tackles (36) of any player in the Rugby Championship, as well as the most clean breaks (5) by any forward in the campaign.

The All Blacks have named an experienced line-up for their Rugby World Cup blockbuster against South Africa on Saturday.

Beauden Barrett, a star at fly-half, will start at full-back for the two-time defending champions when they open their campaign against the Springboks in Yokohama in Pool B.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen talked up his team, including what he believes is a strong ability to have impact off the bench.

"Any combination of players in our squad could have justified their selection, but in the end we believe the 23 we have selected is the right group for this opposition," he said on Thursday.

"In today's rugby environment, you need to have the mindset that it's not just about who starts, it's also about what the players coming off the bench can provide. As an example, we have a great one-two punch with Dane [Coles] and Codie [Taylor] at hooker and Aaron [Smith] and TJ [Perenara] at half-back."

While 12 players are set for their Rugby World Cup debuts, the All Blacks' team includes a total of 1,061 Tests in experience.

Hansen has been happy with his team's preparation ahead of a tough opening game against the Springboks.

"Since transferring from our camp in Kashiwa to Tokyo we have moved into Test match mode this week and our focus has been building throughout the week," he said.

"We've had a very good week's training in the heat and rain here in Tokyo, the facilities have been excellent and our Japanese hosts have been outstanding."

Hansen added: "The challenge of playing one of our oldest and most respected foes in the opening Test of RWC2019 has us excited and energised by what lies ahead. Each time we play South Africa, it's a tight battle and a real arm wrestle.

"To perform at our very best, we'll have to play with real clarity, intent, energy and clear heads. Both teams will have their moments and it'll be our job to ensure we limit theirs and take full opportunity of ours."

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Shannon Frizell, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Ben Smith.

The All Blacks have named an experienced line-up for their Rugby World Cup blockbuster against South Africa on Saturday.

Beauden Barrett, a star at fly-half, will start at full-back for the two-time defending champions when they open their campaign against the Springboks in Yokohama in Pool B.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen talked up his team, including what he believes is a strong ability to have impact off the bench.

"Any combination of players in our squad could have justified their selection, but in the end we believe the 23 we have selected is the right group for this opposition," he said on Thursday.

"In today's rugby environment, you need to have the mindset that it's not just about who starts, it's also about what the players coming off the bench can provide. As an example, we have a great one-two punch with Dane [Coles] and Codie [Taylor] at hooker and Aaron [Smith] and TJ [Perenara] at half-back."

While 12 players are set for their Rugby World Cup debuts, the All Blacks' team includes a total of 1,061 Tests in experience.

Hansen has been happy with his team's preparation ahead of a tough opening game against the Springboks.

"Since transferring from our camp in Kashiwa to Tokyo we have moved into Test match mode this week and our focus has been building throughout the week," he said.

"We've had a very good week's training in the heat and rain here in Tokyo, the facilities have been excellent and our Japanese hosts have been outstanding."

Hansen added: "The challenge of playing one of our oldest and most respected foes in the opening Test of RWC2019 has us excited and energised by what lies ahead. Each time we play South Africa, it's a tight battle and a real arm wrestle.

"To perform at our very best, we'll have to play with real clarity, intent, energy and clear heads. Both teams will have their moments and it'll be our job to ensure we limit theirs and take full opportunity of ours."

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Shannon Frizell, TJ Perenara, Sonny Bill Williams, Ben Smith.

Jordie Barrett has renewed his contract with New Zealand Rugby, agreeing to stay with the Hurricanes despite brother Beauden's departure.

Barrett has committed to the All Blacks until 2022 and will remain with the Hurricanes, for whom he debuted in Super Rugby in 2017.

The 22-year-old has earned 10 caps for New Zealand, playing alongside siblings Beauden and Scott.

He will not count two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden as a club colleague in 2020, though, with the superstar first five-eighth set for a break after the Rugby World Cup before joining the Blues.

While Jordie will remain with the Hurricanes for the time being, his new deal contains the option to switch Super Rugby clubs after next year, according to Monday's All-Blacks statement.

Jordie Barrett said: "There is a really good mix of youth as well as experienced leaders in the Hurricanes squad and I feel like this is the best place to develop my game.

"Staying in New Zealand rugby is really important to me. I'm enjoying playing alongside my mates and I've got further aspirations and goals I want to reach while I'm playing in New Zealand."

Soon-to-depart All Blacks coach Steve Hansen added: "Congratulations to Jordie on his decision to re-sign with New Zealand Rugby.

"He's an outstanding, talented young player who has soaked up everything he can in the All Blacks environment and grabbed every opportunity with both hands.

"He has a big future in the game and we look forward to seeing his career grow over the next few years."

Beauden Barrett will surprisingly start at full-back for the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship clash against South Africa in Wellington on Saturday.

New Zealand edged Argentina 20-16 in their opener at the tournament, which has been shortened this year due to the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has opted for changes ahead of facing the Springboks, including shifting Barrett – who will play his 75th Test – from fly-half to full-back to make room for Richie Mo'unga.

Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks – who have 184 Test caps between them – are the starting front row, while captain Kieran Read and Sonny Bill Williams return.

"The selectors are once again very excited with the team we've selected and are very much looking forward to seeing them play," Hansen said on Thursday.

"The key for us this week has been to continue building on the very good groundwork we've put in over the last couple of weeks. Whilst we were a little rusty last week, we're looking forward to seeing improvements in all areas of our game this week.

"It's always an exciting occasion when we play the Springboks. We have a lot of respect for them and love playing them, as they bring many challenges to the contest. One of those challenge this week will be to not only match the physicality of the Boks, but to impose our own physicality on the game, and execute our game and our skillsets at a higher level."

The All Blacks have won 12 of their past 14 Tests against the Springboks, with New Zealand having held the Freedom Cup – contested by the two teams – since 2010.

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Matt Todd, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Dane Coles, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Vaea Fifita, Dalton Papalii, Aaron Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, George Bridge.

All Blacks star Beauden Barrett has agreed to leave the Hurricanes for the Blues in a blockbuster move after signing a new deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZR).

Barrett – a two-time World Rugby Player of the Year has – penned a four-year contract to keep him in New Zealand through to the end of the 2023 World Cup.

But the 28-year-old and 73-cap New Zealand international will represent the Blues at club level from 2020, leaving Super Rugby rivals the Hurricanes, where he broke through in 2011.

The complex new contract will see first five-eighth Barrett join the Blues midway through the 2020 season, however, as he takes an extended break from rugby at the end of this year.

And Barrett has the option to take a "short playing break" in Japan at some point during the next four years.

"This is obviously a massive decision for me and my wife Hannah and we're really looking forward to the next chapter of our lives," Barrett said.

"The Hurricanes will always be a huge part of who I am. The Hurricanes environment and style of rugby they play has helped me become the player I am today, and I'll be leaving some very good mates.

"Wellington has been my rugby base for many years and university base for Hannah and we'll always have fond memories of living there. Home for us now is Taranaki and Auckland and home and family are immensely important to both of us.

"I'm also enthusiastic about the new challenge I'll get with the Blues over the next four years. They're a team on the rise, I like the way they play and I'm really looking forward to being a part of that.

"While I'm looking forward to what the future holds, right now my focus is on the international season ahead with the All Blacks."

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, who will leave his role after the 2019 World Cup in Japan, added: "It's fantastic news for the All Blacks and obviously for the Blues as well. We congratulate Beaudy and his wife Hannah on his decision to stay in New Zealand.

"He's one of the best players in the world, a leader in our team and has been involved in numerous successful campaigns, from Rugby World Cups to Bledisloe Cups, and I believe he's going to get even better.

"Knowing he will be here through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup is massive for the All Blacks as they move into a new phase post-2019."

Blues chief executive Michael Redman, meanwhile, said: "Signing a player of Beauden's calibre has been years in the making.

"While Beauden's personal circumstances created this opportunity, changes we've made to our club in recent years meant for the first time the Blues were a credible option for him. The process has been long and complex, but we believe the outcome is the most influential player movement in Super Rugby history."

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