All Blacks revert to strong lineup for Cardiff test

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Pool B - New Zealand v Canada - Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan - October 2, 2019 New Zealand's Shannon Frizell scores their seventh try REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

CARDIFF, Nov 3 (Reuters) - New Zealand made extensive changes to their lineup as they reverted to a strong selection for Saturday’s test against Wales after fielding an experimental team last week in Japan.

The All Blacks on Thursday made 11 changes to the makeshift side that were given a mighty scare at Tokyo's National Stadium last Saturday, before beating Japan 38-31.

Aaron Smith is set to pass Dan Carter as the most capped back in All Blacks history, playing his 113th test as he returns to the team, along with a trio of Barrett brothers, while Shannon Frizell is the only player retained in the pack.

New Zealand must do without lock Brodie Retallick, suspended after a red card last Saturday, and captain Sam Cane, who withdrew from the squad after suffering two small facial fractures in the same game.

Sam Whitelock takes over as a skipper for Saturday’s test in Cardiff and the clashes with Scotland on Nov. 13 and England on Nov. 19.

“Playing Wales on the road always represents an exciting challenge,” head coach Ian Foster said in a statement naming the team.

“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. That will ensure an amazing atmosphere for fans and players,” he added.

Team

15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Sevu Reece, 13-Rieko Ione, 12-Jordie Barrett, 11-Caleb Clarke, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Ardie Savea, 7-Dalton Papali’i, 6-Shannon Frizell, 5-Scott Barrett, 4-Sam Whitelock (captain), 3-Tyrel Lomax, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Tuou Vaa’i, 20-Akira Ioane, 21-Brad Weber, 22-David Havili, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris

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