All Blacks make wholesale changes for Wales clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Scrumhalf Aaron Smith was named in New Zealand’s team to play Wales on Saturday, when he will surpass Dan Carter as the most capped back in All Blacks history.
Smith, who will be playing his 113th Test, will link up with flyhalf Richie Mo’unga while Beauden Barrett has been named at fullback.
Smith is one of a number of older heads to return to the team after the All Blacks kicked off their end-of-year Test series with a laboured 38-31 victory over Japan in Tokyo.
Jordie Barrett has again been given the nod at centre, linking up with Rieko Ioane in midfield. David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown will provide cover.
Caleb Clarke and Sevu Reece retain their spots on the wing. The front row of Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax is reunited in a tight five that has also welcomed back the fit-again Scott Barrett, the third of the Barrett brothers in the run-on XV.
He is partnered at lock by captain Samuel Whitelock in the absence of Brodie Retallick, who picked up a two-match ban after being red-carded for a shoulder charge in the Japan match.
Completing the forward pack is the loose forward trio of Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali’i and Shannon Frizell.
“Playing Wales on the road always represents an exciting challenge,” coach Ian Foster said.
“We have a number of players returning to the side and we know we will need to play with a high intensity against this physical Welsh team.
“Last year the roof at Principality Stadium was open due to Covid regulations but this time it will be closed. That will ensure an amazing atmosphere for fans and players.”
Foster has also confirmed that winger Will Jordan will not take part on this tour due to a persisting vestibular issue.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Shannon Frizzell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Brad Weber, 22 David Havili, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Date: Saturday, November 5
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 15.15 (15.15 GMT; 04.15 NZDT Sunday, November 6)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)