Barrett brothers headline All Blacks as Wales hand debut to winger Dyer

By Sports Desk November 03, 2022

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has recalled a slate of first-choice names to the All Blacks team to face Wales on Saturday, demanding "high intensity" for the tussle in Cardiff.

There are just three changes from the side that beat Australia in Auckland nearly six weeks ago, but the visitors make more wholesale swaps from the side that edged Japan 38-31 last weekend.

Aaron Smith will line up for his 113th Test, to become the All Blacks' most capped back, moving ahead of Dan Carter, while Sam Whitelock will get his first run as captain following Sam Cane's tour-ending injury.

Beauden and Jordie Barrett return to the side, joining brother Scott, with Ethan de Groot, Codie Taylor and Tyrel Lomax forming the front row.

There is no Brodie Retallick, however, following his red card in New Zealand's victory over the Brave Blossoms.

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. It will ensure an amazing atmosphere for fans and players."  

Wayne Pivac's hosts welcome back Leigh Halfpenny after a year-plus absence through injury, while Dragons winger Rio Dyer is handed a surprise debut.

New captain Justin Tipuric also comes into the side following his own lay-off, as does winger Ken Owens, while Will Rowlands and Adam Beard form the second row.

It means Alun Wyn Jones, the world's most capped player, is among the replacements as he looks to stretch his own record of 165 matches.

Pivac is backing newcomer Dyer to make an instant impact.

"Rio has fitted in really well and really quickly. He's thriving in this environment," Pivac said. "He's a young man that's bringing some form with him into camp.

"He scored some great tries and he's full of confidence. That means a lot to a young guy playing his first Test match in front of a big crowd. There's no better way to start your career, so we wish him well."

Wales team: Halfpenny, Rees-Zammit, North, Tompkins, Dyer, Anscombe, Williams; Thomas, Owens, Francis, Rowlands, Beard, Tipuric, Reffell, Faletau.

Replacements: Elias, Smith, Lewis, Wyn Jones, Tshiunza, Hardy, Priestland, Watkin.

New Zealand team: B Barrett, Reece, R Ioane, J Barrett, Clarke, Mo'unga, Smith; De Groot, Taylor, Lomax, Whitelock, S Barrett, Frizell, Papali'i, Savea.

Replacements: Taukei'aho, Tu'ungafasi, Newell, Vaa'i, A Ioane, Weber, Havili, Lienert-Brown.

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