New Zealand v Wales preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the first summer Test
Warren Gatland’s Wales take on the All Blacks this Saturday in their first match of the summer tour: 8:35am kick-off
The match will be New Zealand’s first since beating Australia 34-17 in the 2015 World Cup final
Wales have not beaten the All Blacks in 26 matches since 1953 and the world champions are undefeated at Eden Park since 1994
Wales have the unenviable task of taking on New Zealand, in their first Test since their Rugby World Cup triumph, in Auckland on Saturday.
Captain Sam Warburton, who starts after a shoulder injury, returns to the ground for the first time since being sent off for a tip-tackle in the 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat by France.
Second row Alun Wyn Jones will win his 100th cap for Wales at Eden Park while prop Gethin Jenkins, hooker Ken Owens and lock Bradley Davies return, as does centre Jonathan Davies.
Wales head into this clash on the back of a Six Nations campaign where they finished second but they didn’t cover themselves in glory when they suffered a 27-13 loss against a second-string England side at Twickenham at the end of last month.
Meanwhile, New Zealand are without the services of legendary players like Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, who all retired from Test rugby after last year’s World Cup victory. But head coach Steve Hansen has made contingency plans with all the
But head coach Steve Hansen has made contingency plans with all the above mentioned players’ replacements already experienced internationals.
2014: New Zealand won 34-16 in Cardiff
2012: New Zealand won 33-10 in Cardiff
2010: New Zealand won 37-25 in Cardiff
2010: New Zealand won 29-10 in Hamilton
2010: New Zealand won 42-9 in Dunedin
2009: New Zealand won 19-12 in Cardiff
2008: New Zealand won 29-9 in Cardiff
2006: New Zealand won 45-10 in Cardiff
New Zealand: Aaron Cruden
After missing last year’s Rugby World Cup due to a knee injury, all eyes will be on Aaron Cruden as he returns to the world champions’ run-on side in the crucial pivot position. Cruden has done well as a playmaker for the Chiefs in Super Rugby this year and he will be expected to unlock Wales’ defence with his impressive skill-set.
Wales: Alun Wyn Jones
Veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones is making his 100th Test appearance and although a victory for Wales is highly unlikely he will be determined to make the occasion a memorable one with a commanding performance. The Ospreys lock is one of the best lineout jumpers in the game while his relentless tackling makes him one of the games finest defenders.
New Zealand, despite losing a lot of their senior player to retirement following their Rugby World Cup triumph, should have little trouble in seeing off their troubled visitors. Although it won’t be a one-sided affair, the All Blacks will win by at least 15 points!
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Seta Tamanivalu
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Scott Williams
Date: Saturday, June 11
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Will Houston (Australia)