Big guns back for NZ

 Nov 22,2012
Written by: Editor

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named a hugely experienced and in-form side for this weekend's Test outing with Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

There are 745 caps in New Zealand's starting XV and 140 on their eight-man bench.

Nine changes have been made to last week's starting side in Rome, where the world champions left with a 42-10 win.

As expected, Richie McCaw regains the captaincy from Kieran Read after having a weeks rest with Liam Messam remaining the premier blindside flank.

Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks and hooker Andrew Hore make up the front row, while Luke Romano is the preferred locking partner for Sam Whitelock in the second row.

In the backs, Aaron Smith holds off Piri Weepu push for the number nine jersey, Dan Carter returns at fly-half with the All Blacks most successful centre pairing of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith retained in the midfield.

On the wings, Julian Savea gets his third successive start on tour and will combine with wing Cory Jane and full-back Israel Dagg in the back three.

Grand Slam champions in the Six Nations earlier this year, Wales have lost their last five Tests and not beaten the All Blacks since 1953.

"We have always known this game will be a fiercely contested match," said Hansen.

"We have known since the World Cup that this would be the game that they would be targeting in this series, so any recent performances or results won't have any bearing on this match.

"We are all excited by what comes with this challenge, along with the fact that we will be playing in one of the world's greatest rugby stadiums."

The world champions are unbeaten for 19 Tests going back to last year's loss to Australia in Brisbane.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith. 

Date: Saturday, November 24
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces, Greg Garner (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

Tags: International |  New Zealand | 

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