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All Blacks make 11 changes to their team to take on Wales

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images)

Ian Foster has made eleven changes to his All Blacks team to take on Wales this Saturday a week after their hectic 38-31 win over Japan in Tokyo. With Dane Coles and skipper San Cane unavailable through injury for the rest of the tour, second row Brodie Retallick suspended following his red card and midfielders Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Braydon Ennor diverted to Dublin to line out in an ABs XV against Ireland A, there was always going to be multiple changes for the Principality Stadium Test fixture.

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However, Foster has taken things more than a step further by retaining just four players in the All Blacks starting team from last weekend – blindside Shannon Frizzel and three backs, fly-half Richie Mo’unga, left wing Caleb Clarke and right wing Sevu Reece.

Jordie Barrett has been given the nod at centre, joining Rieko Ioane in the midfield where David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown will provide cover from the bench. Aaron Smith returns to the number nine jersey, resuming his partnership with Mo’unga, while Beauden Barrett is named at full-back.

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The front row of Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax is chosen in a tight five that sees the fit-again Scott Barrett partnered at lock by captain Samuel Whitelock. Completing the pack is the loose forward trio of Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali’i and Frizell.

Saturday’s match will be an auspicious occasion for scrum-half Smith as he is set to surpass Dan Carter as the most capped back in All Blacks history, playing his 113th Test. 

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Foster said: “Playing Wales on the road always represents an exciting challenge. 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.”

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Foster also confirmed that winger Will Jordan will not take part on the tour due to a persisting vestibular issue.

All Blacks (vs Wales, Saturday)
1. Ethan de Groot (10)
2. Codie Taylor (73)
3. Tyrel Lomax (21)
4. Samuel Whitelock (140 – captain)
5. Scott Barrett (55)
6. Shannon Frizell (22)
7. Dalton Papali’i (19)
8. Ardie Savea (67)
9. Aaron Smith (112)
10. Richie Mo’unga (42)
11. Caleb Clarke (12)
12. Jordie Barrett (45)
13. Rieko Ioane (56)
14. Sevu Reece (22)
15. Beauden Barrett (109)
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (18)
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (49)
18. Fletcher Newell (4)
19. Tupou Vaa’i (16)
20. Akira Ioane (19)
21. Brad Weber (17)
22. David Havili (22)
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (57)

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