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Narawa out of World Cup as All Blacks make four changes

Anton Lienert-Brown replaced the injured Jordie Barrett at second five-eighth in the only backline change to the starting side for the Test against the tournament hosts in Paris on Saturday morning.

Barrett has been struggling with a knee problem and did not train this week so Lienert-Brown will play his second Test of the year alongside Rieko Ioane in midfield for the blockbuster clash at Stade de France.

Codie Taylor returns at hooker after a hamstring issue and Nepo Laulala comes in at tighthead prop for Tyrel Lomax, who needed 30 stitches in a cut to his leg after the crushing loss to South Africa in New Zealand's final warm-up.

Dalton Papali'i, who usually plays at openside flanker, starts on the blindside with Shannon Frizell still ruled out by a hamstring issue.

The team also said Narawa had reinjured a back complaint during training in Lyon and scans revealed a "disc issue".

He will leave the squad after the Test in Paris and a squad replacement to be named at a later date.

New Zealand were thrashed 35-7 by world champions South Africa in their final World Cup warm-up at Twickenham in late August, the biggest loss for the All Blacks in their 102-year test history.

They won their four previous tests to claim more Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup titles and Foster was confident he was sending out a team capable of defending New Zealand's record of never having lost a World Cup pool match.

"You look at the performances against South Africa, Australia, suddenly we are World Cup favourites," he said.

"And then it got a bit brutal at Twickenham and suddenly we're the worst All Blacks team ever. We've had a smile about that, and we're quite excited about it."

Lienert-Brown is an experienced campaigner who missed the start of New Zealand's triumphant Rugby Championship campaign due to suspension for a dangerous tackle.

The All Blacks will miss the option Barrett offers as a third strategic kicker along with first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga and his brother Beauden at fullback but Foster said he should be fit for the second Pool A game against Namibia on Sept. 15.

"He was relatively close," the coach added.

"It's a precautionary thing in some ways and we'd like to think that he'll be back and available next week."

Foster said Papali'i was going to have a run at blindside flanker off the bench in the Twickenham test against the Springboks but the plan had to be torn up after lock Scott Barrett was shown a red card.

Luke Jacobson, who started in the number six shirt at Twickenham, will back up Papali'i from the bench.

Mo'unga and Laulala will both earn their 50th cap.

The teams will set a record for the most meetings between two countries at the Rugby World Cup. Friday's match will be their eighth meeting, with their first encounter taking place in the final of the inaugural tournament in 1987.

New Zealand team: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Mark Telea, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (captain), Dalton Papali'i, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot.

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Fletcher Newell, Tupou Vaa'i, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, David Havili, Leicester Fainga'anuku.