All Blacks expecting fast and physical game plan from Wales

All Blacks coach Ian Foster said playing Wales in Cardiff was always a special occasion.

"There's a lot of passion in the crowd and we know they demand 100 percent attitude and commitment from you, so it's a great place to start the European part of our tour.

The stadium roof will be closed, and, as a result, the prospect was that Wales would look to play a fast game in attempting to beat the All Blacks for the first time since 1953.

Wales had selected a strong team who had been competitive in their three Tests in South Africa, and they would play with a lot of confidence from that.

"They've picked an uncapped player on the wing [Rio Dyer] and he's very quick, so they've got plenty of speed, but we know that Wales are a very physical rugby team and they challenge your commitment and physicality."

Foster said the selection of Codie Taylor was down to managing the three hookers in the side, but it was also a reaction to the enforced changes made moments before the start of last week's Test in Japan.

Original starter Dane Coles cried off with a calf injury resulting in Samisoni Taukei'aho starting and Taylor coming on as a substitute later in the game.

"It's a strategy of switching them around and sharing the load at this stage.

"Codie was going to have a break, and he ended up playing, so we felt we've got two battle-hardened hookers, and we'll switch them around.

"But, Codie was probably under a lot of pressure in his last Test start and we were delighted with how he went about it, and played, and it was good to see him back. So, it's a chance for him to cement his role as one of our leading hookers."

The choice of Jordie Barrett at second five-eighths was down to his performance against Australia at Eden Park.

"We've gone with combinations from that Test," Foster said.

"I said then that Jordie had an outstanding game. It's a chance to give him another start in that position in a different environment against a different team. This is a chance for him to cement his understanding of that role – it gives us a different style and a different game.

"It's a bit about gathering information for the future, but [we're] also excited about what he brings and also the ability to use Davey [Havili] off the bench and utilise Jordie in a different role later in the game."

Halfback Aaron Smith's achievement in playing his 113th Test and becoming the most capped back in All Blacks history would be a special moment. It was the sort of milestone that came around when involved for as long as Smith has been. He has moved past Dan Carter to the No1 position.

"It was pretty special having DC [Carter] at the game last week and he came down to our shed afterwards and said a few words. He's a special man, he's been a massive part of us the last decade and I'm delighted that this little milestone is something he can tick off and I'm sure he will want to do it in typical Aaron Smith manner."

In Sam Cane's absence, flanker Dalton Papali'i has the chance for much-wanted game time, and Foster said he was jumping out of his skin to play.

"He's been a big contributor all campaign. He's turned into a quality loose forward and he's relishing the chance to play."


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