All Blacks hand debut to Crusaders winger Fainga'anuku

Leicester Fainga'anuku will make his Test debut on the left wing against Ireland as All Blacks coach Ian Foster named all three Barrett brothers in the run-on side to face Ireland.

Foster has preferred Beauden Barrett over Richie Mo'unga, while brothers Jordie and Scott start at fullback and blindside breakaway for the Eden Park clash on Saturday night.

Chiefs back-rower Pita-Gus Sowakula will also make his debut alongside Fainga'anuku after he was included among the replacements.

"This is doubly exciting for us playing at a packed Eden Park for our first Test of the year, leading into a sold out series," Foster said via media release.

"After what seems like a long time away from home, it couldn't be scripted better to be back in front of our fans for this match."

"Whilst this week hasn't exactly gone to plan for us, our overall preparation has gone really well."

The All Blacks preparations had been hit by a COVID outbreak, with Will Jordan, Jack Goodhue and David Havili all struck down by the virus.

Foster and coaches Scott McLeod and John Plumtree have also been affected, with Foster calling in former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to help prepare the team in his absence.

"We've prepared rigorously for this match, albeit only having a ten day period together."

"We have huge respect for this Irish team and can't wait to run out onto a packed Eden Park on Saturday to kick off the 2022 Steinlager series."

Sam Cane has regained the captaincy after an injury-interrupted 2021 saw Sam Whitelock step in, and then retain the role once Cane returned later in the year.

NEW ZEALAND: Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (captain), Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Ofa Tuungafasi, Codie Taylor, George Bower.

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Angus Ta'avao, Pita Gus Sowakula, Dalton Papalii, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo'unga, Braydon Ennor.