All Blacks warm to the Tokyo conditions

By Te Ao - Māori News

TJ Perenara (video: All Blacks TV)

All Black halfback TJ Perenara talked today about the hot and humid conditions in Tokyo that the first matches of the Rugby World Cup will be played in. The much-talked-about climate has been on the minds of many as the tournament approaches, but Perenara wasn’t concerned.

“The last couple of days have been hot, but the boys have been enjoying it” he told All Blacks TV.

“Test week has been fun. Being in camp is awesome, but when you know you’ve got a game…it’s always something you look forward to.”

Perenara will likely be named in Steve Hansen’s first side of the World Cup on the bench, where he will back up Aaron Smith at halfback. However, while that is fairly predictable, the most intrigue will be on the wings. Sevu Reece and George Bridge both impressed in their last outing against the Wallabies at Eden Park, so it will be interesting to see if Hansen favours the rookies over the more established Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith.

Other than that it should be a fairly predictable lineup, with the loose forward trio of Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Kieran Read now and established part of the forwards. Beauden Barrett should likely feature again at fullback, with Richie Mo’unga at first five.

The match will also be the first between the All Blacks and Springboks at a World Cup in the pool stages of a World Cup. The two sides last met in a knockout semifinal at Twickenham in 2015, which the All Blacks won 20-18 on their way to a second successive title.

The match kicks off at 9:45pm NZT on Saturday night in Yokohama.