PREVIEW: All Blacks vs Wales (Bronze Final)

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MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks vs Wales, Friday 1 November, 6pm JST (10pm NZT), Tokyo Stadium

 

Played: 34

Won: All Blacks 31, Wales 3

Last time: All Blacks 33, Wales 18 (25 November 2017)

Referee: Wayne Barnes

 

SQUAD NEWS

The All Blacks have made seven changes to the starting fifteen from last week’s semifinal loss to England with Dane Coles, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith all brought into the starting line-up. Scott Barrett has shifted from blindside flanker to his usual position at lock while there are two new faces on the bench in the form of Liam Coltman and Brad Weber.

 

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

It will be the end of an era for the All Blacks with long-serving players Kieran Read, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty and Matt Todd all stepping down following the Wales Test alongside long serving coaches Steve Hansen and Mike Cron. All Blacks captain Kieran Read said his 127th and final Test cap for the All Blacks has come at the right time. "I've had my time in the jersey and it's time for someone else to step in. It's hard, but I've known for a couple of years – the mind is willing but the body is saying, 'I can't do this anymore',” Read said.

 

RWC RIVALRY

The All Blacks and Wales have met three times previously at the Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks run out easy victors in 1987 (49-6) and 1995 (34-9) before playing out one of the most entertaining games of the 2003 tournament. A total of 12 tries were scored as the All Blacks came back from 34-33 down to win 53-37 in front of 80,000 fans in Sydney.

WING BATTLE

Wales left wing Josh Adams has set the Rugby World Cup alight with a tournament leading six tries. A double against the All Blacks will draw him level with Jonah Lomu, Julian Savea and Bryan Habana for most tries in a single tournament with eight. He is joined on the right wing by promising 21-year-old flyer Owen Lane in just his second Test. In contrast to the youthful Lane, the All Blacks will field 33-year-old Ben Smith on the right wing in his 84th and final Test. Rieko Ioane takes the 11 jersey in place of George Bridge.

 

WELSH CONNECTION

The last time the All Blacks and Wales met at the Rugby World Cup (2003), current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was at the helm of Wales. His career now comes full circle in his final game with the All Blacks. Former All Black Warren Gatland will lead Wales for the final time since taking over as coach in 2007. Gatland will return to New Zealand to coach the Chiefs where he will link up with several current All Blacks.

 

FAST FACT

Captain Kieran Read will become the second most capped All Blacks Captain on Friday when he leads the side for the 52nd time.  He is behind Richie McCaw, who captained the All Blacks 110 times.

TEAMS (caps in brackets)

 

All Blacks: 1. Joe Moody (44) 2. Dane Coles (68) 3. Nepo Laulala (24) 4. Brodie Retallick (80) 5. Scott Barrett (35) 6. Shannon Frizell (8) 7. Sam Cane (67) 8. Kieran Read - captain (126) 9. Aaron Smith (91) 10. Richie Mo’unga (16) 11. Rieko Ioane (28) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (56) 13. Ryan Crotty (47) 14. Ben Smith (83) 15. Beauden Barrett (82)

Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman (7) 17. Atu Moli (7) 18. Angus Ta'avao (13) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (29) 20. Matt Todd (24) 21. Brad Weber (4) 22. Anton Lienert-Brown (41) 23. Jordie Barrett (16)

 

Wales: 1. Nicky Smith (34) 2. Ken Owens (72) 3. Dillon Lewis (21) 4. Adam Beard (19) 5. Alun Wyn Jones - captain (133) 6. Justin Tipuric (71) 7. James Davies (7) 8. Ross Moriarty (40) 9. Tomos Williams (15) 10. Rhys Patchell (18) 11. Josh Adams (20) 12. Owen Watkin (21) 13. Jonathan Davies (80) 14. Owen Lane (1) 15. Hallam Amos (21)

Reserves: 16. Elliot Dee (27) 17. Rhys Carre (4) 18. Wyn Jones (21) 19. Jake Ball (41) 20. Aaron Shingler (25) 21. Gareth Davies (50) 22. Dan Biggar (78) 23. Hadleigh Parkes (24)

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