Sowakula set for All Blacks debut

June 30, 2022 11:52 am

[File Photo]

Former Fiji 7s squad member Pita Gus Sowakula is set to make his All Blacks debut against Ireland in the first Test on Saturday.

Sowakula has been named on the bench.

Sevu Reece and George Bower are in the starting 15.

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Crusaders star Leicester Fainga’anuku will make his first appearance for New Zealand in the number 11 jersey.

Named to play his 133rd All Blacks Test, Sam Whitelock, surpasses Keven Mealamu as the second most-capped All Black Test player of all time behind Richie McCaw, in what is his 12th season with the team.

There is an incredibly rich history between the two teams which first met in 1905.

Saturday will mark the 34th Test between the All Blacks and Ireland but just the fourth played at Eden Park.

Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick and Whitelock are the three current All Blacks who played Ireland when they last visited Eden Park in 2012.

The All Blacks hosts Ireland on Saturday at Eden Park in Auckland at 7:05pm.