PREVIEW: All Blacks v Wales Second Test

Getty Images     17 Jun 2016     Getty Images

Matches played: 31
All Blacks won: 28
Wales won: 3
Largest winning margin: All Blacks defeat Wales 55-3, 23 June 2003, Hamilton
Last Wales victory: 13-8, 19 December 1953, Cardiff

All Blacks vs Wales, 7.35pm, Saturday 18 June, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Israel Dagg returns to the All Blacks starting line-up for the first time since the All Blacks 27-20 win over South Africa in Johannesburg last July. The flying fullback has been in great form for the Crusaders in Investec Super Rugby and will join Ben Smith in playing his 50th Test for the All Blacks this weekend. With Dagg at fullback, Ben Smith switches onto the right wing with Waisake Naholo swapping sides to replace Julian Savea on the left wing. 

Just like they did at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks bench played a vital role in getting the All Blacks home. With the All Blacks trailing at halftime, Beauden Barrett came on to spark the All Blacks counter attack. In the forwards, debutant Ardie Savea and Patrick Tuipulotu provided great energy at the breakdown and the front row replacements finished the game with a special try. The strength of the All Blacks bench is highlighted by the fact that Luke Romano and Julian Savea have not been able to find a spot there after dropping out of the starting fifteen. 
Liam Williams confirmed his status as one of the rising stars of Wales rugby with a dynamic performance at fullback last week. In addition to setting up a classy try for halfback Rhys Webb, the electric runner led Wales in ball carries and was second only to George North in metres made. With George North injured out of the tour, Williams switches onto the wing to ensure that Wales don’t lose any of their attacking thrust on the edge.

After their epic clash last week, Kieran Read and Taulupe Faletau will square off again at number eight. Faletau provided great go forward for Wales and rocked the All Blacks with an early try. Read answered back with a crucial try of his own in the second half as the All Blacks extended their lead beyond the seven point mark. Read also showed another feature of his game by leading the All Blacks in lineout takes with five while Faletau was tireless on defence with 11 tackles.
All Blacks: 15: Israel Dagg 14: Ben Smith 13: Malakai Fekitoa 12: Ryan Crotty 11: Waisake Naholo 10: Aaron Cruden 9: Aaron Smith 8: Kieran Read (C) 7: Sam Cane 6: Jerome Kaino 5: Sam Whitelock 4: Brodie Retallick 3: Owen Franks 2: Dane Coles 1: Joe Moody
Reserves: 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: Rhys Patchell 14: Liam Williams 13: Jonathan Davies 12: Jamie Roberts 11: Hallam Amos 10: Dan Biggar 9: Rhys Webb 8: Taulupe Faletau 7: Sam Warburton (C) 6: Ross Moriaty 5: Alun Wyn Jones 4: Luke Charteris 3: Samson Lee 2: Ken Owens 1: Gethin Jenkins
Reserves: 16: Scott Baldwin 17: Rob Evans 18: Tomas Francis 19: Bradley Davies 20: Ellis Jenkins 21: Gareth Davies 22: Rhys Priestland 23: Scott Williams