All Blacks flanker and captain Sam Cane, absent at the last minute, was replaced by Tupou Vaa'i for Friday's opening match between France and New Zealand, according to the match sheet published by World Rugby . Tupou Vaa'i, usual second row, came off the substitutes' bench and took Cane's place in 6, while Ardie Savea, the third center row, became the team captain. The legend Brodie Retallick, 32 years old, 103 caps, injured in a knee and who was not expected to be restored for the opening match at least, takes his place among the substitutes.
The French XV opens the World Cup (September 8-October 28), Friday, against New Zealand. The Blues will then face Uruguay (September 14), Namibia (September 21) and Italy (October 6).