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Hansen takes no chances with full-strength All Blacks named for Wales clash

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw returns to the New Zealand starting line-up.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw returns to the New Zealand starting line-up. Photo: AP

CARDIFF: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named his strongest starting line-up for Saturday's one-off Test against Wales, restoring skipper Richie McCaw and star fly-half Dan Carter to the side.

After experimenting in the first two Tests of the tour to give all of his 32-man squad a run, Hansen opted to take no chances against an out-of-form Wales desperate to redeem themselves by downing the world champions.

"We have always known that this game will be a fiercely contested match... we have known since the World Cup that this would be the the game they would be targeting in this series," Hansen said.

"So any recent performances or results won't have any bearing on this match."

McCaw, rested for last week's 42-10 win over Italy, takes the captain's armband back from Kieran Read, while Carter replaces understudy Aaron Cruden at No.10 after warming the bench in Rome.

In all, there are nine changes from the side that defeated Italy with Tony Woodcock the only survivor in a revamped tight five featuring Andrew Hore, Owen Franks, Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock.

Liam Messam was retained as blindside flanker over Adam Thomson, whose one-match ban for stamping on Alasdair Strokosch in a 51-22 win over Scotland is being appealed by the International Rugby Board as "unduly lenient".

Hansen said he did not want the appeal to disrupt the team's preparation.

In the backs, Hansen stuck with the experienced centre pairing of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, who played a key role in demolishing Italy.

Fullback Israel Dagg returns from injury at the expense of Beauden Barrett, while Cory Jane replaces Hosea Gear on the right wing.

Julian Savea, this year's top international try scorer with 10 five-pointers in seven Tests, kept his place on the left wing, making him the only player to start in all three of New Zealand's tour matches.

Aaron Smith held off a challenge from a resurgent Piri Weepu at scrum-half, although Hansen conceded it was a close call after Weepu's strong performance against Scotland.

The All Blacks are on a run of 19 Tests undefeated and have posted 24 straight wins over Wales since they last lost to the Red Dragons in 1953.

They enter the fixture as overwhelming favourites against a Wales team reeling after a run of five successive defeats, including a 26-19 loss to bogey team Samoa last week.

Hansen said the hosts would be determined to end their horror run and return to the form that delivered this year's Six Nations championship and a semi-final berth at last year's World Cup.

New Zealand wrap up their tour at Twickenham on December 1 against England, who are the last team to defeat them on a northern hemisphere tour, with a 31-28 win in 2002.

New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam; Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Victor Vito, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ben Smith.


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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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