Hard work, discipline and compelling form have earned TJ Perenara the All Blacks number nine jersey ahead of Aaron Smith for the last test of the year.
That, and coach Steve Hansen’s belief that Smith’s confidence has been dented by events of the last six weeks and as a result, his form hasn’t returned to the dizzy peaks it reached earlier in the year.


Hansen on Aaron Smith 

What he’s been through has been pretty touch for any person but to be in the limelight as he is and have to deal with all that along with his partner it has been horrifically tough.
“We know he is a quality player but confidence is a very important ingredient to any sports person and he has obviously taken a knock there. Give him time and he will come back in. I’m sure he’ll do the job for us when he’s asked to and then get a break like the rest of us and 2017 will be a new year.”


Here’s the AllBlacks team to face France on Saturday: 

1. Joe Moody (23)
2. Dane Coles (48)
3. Owen Franks (89)
4. Brodie Retallick (59)
5. Samuel Whitelock (83)
6. Jerome Kaino (76)
7. Matt Todd (7)
8. Kieran Read – captain (96)
9. TJ Perenara (28)
10. Beauden Barrett (48)
11. Julian Savea (51)
12. Ryan Crotty (25)
13. Anton Lienert-Brown (7)
14. Waisake Naholo (11)
15. Israel Dagg (60)
16. Codie Taylor (14)
17. Wyatt Crockett (57)
18. Charlie Faumuina (45)
19. Scott Barrett (3)
20. Ardie Savea (11)
21. Aaron Smith (57)
22. Aaron Cruden (46)
23. Rieko Ioane (1)