New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2023 squad and odds – the 33 men looking to break history

In a few weeks’ time, New Zealand will open up the Rugby World Cup 2023 against France, as the All Blacks look to win an unprecedented fourth trophy. We break down the 33-men New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad who will carry the weight of the nation on their shoulders.

New Zealand World Cup 2023 squad – a better team than 2019?

In early August, New Zealand announced a 33-man World Cup squad that will be travelling to France to contest the World Cup. Here’s a breakdown of those names, position by position:


  • Ethan de Groot – Highlanders (16 caps)
  • Tyrel Lomax – Hurricanes (26 caps)
  • Nepo Laulala – Blues (49 caps)
  • Fletcher Newell – Crusaders (7 caps)
  • Ofa Tu’ungafasi – Blues (53 caps)
  • Tamaiti Williams – Crusaders (2 caps)

New Zealand have opted to take six props, with a good mix of experience between Laulala and Tu’ungafasi, as well as some form players in Williams and Lomax. Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax will be the likely starters, providing Lomax recovers from the recent gash on his leg against South Africa.


  • Dane Coles – Hurricanes (86 caps)
  • Samisoni Taukei’aho – Chiefs (24 caps)
  • Codie Taylor – Crusaders (79 caps)

Nations will be looking on in envy, with three world-class hookers in the New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad. Coles is the old hand with all the experience in the world, while Taylor and Taukei’aho will be battling it out for the starting position most likely.


  • Scott Barrett – Crusaders (61 caps)
  • Brodie Retallick – Chiefs (103 caps)
  • Tupou Vaa’i – Chiefs (21 caps)
  • Samuel Whitelock – Crusaders (145 caps)

Provided injuries don’t play a part in the World Cup, then New Zealand have an abundance of talent at lock. Retallick and Whitelock are an all-time GOAT locking pair, while Barrett has recently hit a purple patch and forced himself into the starting line up. However, there’s plenty to be aware of here, as Retallick is currently injured, Whitelock has just returned, and Barrett may face a suspension for head contact against South Africa over the weekend.

Back rows

  • Sam Cane – Chiefs (89 caps) – Captain
  • Shannon Frizell – Highlanders (28 caps)
  • Luke Jacobson – Chiefs (14 caps)
  • Dalton Papali’i – Blues (25 caps)
  • Ardie Savea – Hurricanes (74 caps)

Samipeni Finau is one of the more unlucky names to miss out here, with Luke Jacobson getting the call ahead of the form Chiefs flanker. Cane, Savea and Frizell are the choice trio here, but with Frizell still injured, Jacobson is likely to fill his spot. Look for a big performance from Frizell/Jacobson as the All Blacks’ physical enforcer.

Scrum halves

  • Finlay Christie – Blues (17 caps)
  • Cam Roigard – Hurricanes (1 cap)
  • Aaron Smith – Highlanders (118 caps)

Another area where the Kiwis have abundant talent, Brad Weber gets left at home here. Smith has the starting spot locked down, while Cam Roigard seems to be the pick on the bench for his physical presence and flair on attack. Watch out for injuries though, as the step down from Smith to Christie is a big one, should the Blues scrum half be required to start.

Fly halves

  • Beauden Barrett – Blues (115 caps)
  • Damian McKenzie – Chiefs (42 caps)
  • Richie Mo’unga – Crusaders (48 caps)

Mo’unga seems to have won the battle over McKenzie to be the All Blacks’ pivot, while Barrett is simply here as cover, and will play full back. Don’t underestimate the value of McKenzie off the bench, however, with the utility back able to split games wide open.


  • Jordie Barrett – Hurricanes (51 caps)
  • David Havili – Crusaders (25 caps)
  • Rieko Ioane – Blues (62 caps)
  • Anton Lienert-Brown – Chiefs (62 caps)

Barrett and Ioane have established themselves as the go-to pairing in the mid-field, while Lienert-Brown will be looking to get himself back in the conversation after a long injury layoff. Havili is also lucky to be in the New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad, having barely played this year due to injury.

Back three

  • Caleb Clarke – Blues (18 caps)
  • Leicester Fainga’anuku – Crusaders (3 caps)
  • Will Jordan – Crusaders (24 caps)
  • Emoni Narawa – Chiefs (1 cap)
  • Mark Telea – Blues (4 caps)

Tough calls were made here, with Fainga’anuku getting the nod ahead of Shaun Stevenson due to his ability to cover midfield. The wings look fairly settled with Jordan and Telea the favourites, while Barrett will likely play fullback for the crunch matches.

Key players – Mo’unga, Whitelock and Jordan

It would be crude to describe the All Blacks as pivoting around just one or two players, such is the wealth of talent and leadership that they have. However, big tournaments from Mo’unga, Whitelock and Jordan will certainly help their cause.

New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad
Credit: Icon Sport

Mo’unga will be crucial in controlling New Zealand’s attack and kicking game. While he’s solidified his position as the starting flyhalf, the pivot still can run hot and cold at the international level. Whitelock plays a similar role in ensuring the Kiwis’ set piece is solid, and will need to roll his sleeves up physically, while Will Jordan provides the spark which New Zealand will need to crack open resolute defences. 

Key absentees – Brodie Retallick and Shannon Frizell

With a nation boasting as much depth as New Zealand, there will always be some talented players–such as Brad Weber and Shaun Stevenson–who miss the cut come World Cup time. However, the big talking points in the New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad are Retallick and Frizell, two of the All Black’s enforcers who have been selected but are currently injured, and won’t be available until later in the tournament.

New Zealand’s form ahead of the World Cup

A few days ago, New Zealand were looking like they’d rounded a corner from their shaky 18 months that saw them lose an unprecedented number of matches between 2021-22. However, their 12-match unbeaten streak came tumbling down violently at the hands of the Springboks in London, who gave them the biggest defeat in their 128-year history.

Last five matches:

  • South Africa 35-7 New Zealand
  • New Zealand 23-20 Australia
  • New Zealand 38-7 Australia 
  • New Zealand 35-20 South Africa
  • New Zealand 41-12 Argentina

New Zealand Rugby World Cup odds 2023 – 3.75 (11/4)

New Zealand are the favourites to win the Rugby World Cup, despite recently being thrashed by South Africa and not winning the tournament since 2015. With the New Zealand Rugby World Cup odds sitting at 3.75 (11/4), they narrowly lead hosts France who are breathing down their necks on 4.00 (3/1).

New Zealand World Cup group and schedule

As the All Blacks launch their campaign to win a record-breaking fourth Rugby World Cup, here’s what their schedule looks like for the pool phase of the tournament:

  • 08/09/2023 at 18:15 GMT vs France
  • 15/09/2023 at 18:00 GMT vs Namibia
  • 29/09/2023 at 18:00 GMT vs Italy
  • 05/10/2023 at 18:00 GMT vs Uruguay

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