All Blacks suffer double injury blow ahead of World Cup opener against France

All Blacks suffer double injury blow ahead of World Cup opener against France

The All Blacks will be without Jordie Barrett for Friday's Rugby World Cup opener against France, while tragedy has struck for winger Emoni Narawa, who has been ruled out of the tournament altogether.

Narawa will take no part in this year's World Cup after it was confirmed that he will fly home to New Zealand due to injury.

The 24-year-old was one of the Chiefs' stars during their impressive Super Rugby Pacific campaign which ended in defeat in the final against the Crusaders in Hamilton in June.

"[It's] incredibly sad," Foster told reporters. "In the Twickenham week, he ran his fastest time of the year, he was coming back.

"His preparation has been really good, trending right up. It's obviously been a niggling back from the Argentinian Test.

"He was coming right, he trained really well.

"It was the last thing he did in a skill block. He jarred it; it turns out it's the other side of the disc.

"It's incredibly sad for him, he's worked hard to get here and we're excited about where he's at."

Playmaker Jordie Barret was also not named in the All Blacks' team to take on France on Friday. The centre has been struggling with knee soreness over the past week and has not been deemed fit enough to play in this weekend's encounter.

That means Anton Lienert-Brown starts alongside Rieko Ioane at centre, with David Havili having to make do with a place on the bench.

Up front, New Zealand are still missing some key figures too - including Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax and Shannon Frizell.

Scott Barrett, who was red-carded last time out, and Sam Whitelock therefore continue in the second-row with Nepo Laulala coming in for Lomax at tighthead.

Laulala is joined in the front-row by Codie Taylor, who replaces Dane Coles, and Ethan de Groot.

Dalton Papali'i comes in at number six as head coach Ian Foster goes with dual opensides. Ardie Savea completes the back-row at number eight.

Despite impressing in the defeat to South Africa thanks to a stunning individual try, Cam Roigard is dropped from the 23 with Finlay Christie the preferred back-up to Smith.

Fabien Galthie has named a strong-looking side for France but they will be without four key injured figures - Jonathan Danty, Romain Ntamack, Paul Willemse and Cyril Baille.

Ntamack is definitely out of the World Cup while Willemse is a significant doubt, but Danty and Baille should be able to play a part in the pool stages.

Galthie is fortunate to have Matthieu Jalibert to call on at flyhalf, who takes his place at half-back alongside captain Antoine Dupont.

France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Yoram Moefana, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (c), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Reda Wardi

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Maxime Lucu 22 Arthur Vincent, 23 Melvyn Jaminet

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Dalton Papali'i, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa'i, 20 Luke Jacobson 21 Finlay Christie, 22 David Havili, 23 Leicester Fainga'nuku

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