All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named his final side while in charge of New Zealand for their Rugby World Cup bronze medal match against Wales, and he’s made a raft of changes from last week’s team.
Hansen has made seven personnel changes to the starting side that lost to England last week, with Dane Coles, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith all named to start against Wales on Friday.
Scott Barrett has been named at lock instead of blindside flanker, while Kieran Read will start at number 8 and captain for his final match.
Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett all retain their positions as well.
Ardie Savea, one of the All Blacks best performers during the World Cup, has not been selected for the match.
Matt Todd has been named the replacement flanker for the All Blacks, as the loose forward has successfully recovered from a shoulder injury he sustained in New Zealand’s win over Ireland in the quarterfinals.
Codie Taylor – the usual starting hooker for the match – has been replaced by Coles, while Liam Coltman is the reserve hooker.
Patrick Tuipulotu is the reserve lock, with Sam Whitelock out of the matchday 23.
Brad Weber, Anton Lienert-Brown and Jordie Barrett will also add impact from the bench.
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said: “This was a tough team to select because, as always, everyone wanted to play. But with a short turnaround and the nature of the tournament, we feel that this is the right team for this occasion.”
“There’s been a lot of external talk around this being the game that no one wants to play. However, from our point of view, we can’t wait to play it. Everyone in the squad – players and management – are motivated by the opportunity to show that our last performance wasn’t at the high standard that we know we can play at.
“This is a Test match against an opposition that will also be keen to make a statement. Therefore, we will need to turn up with real attitude, intent and work ethic, and then execute our skillsets to the highest level possible. The game will be physical and fast as both teams will look to play to their strengths. We are looking forward to it and can’t wait.”
The match will be the final time Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith play for New Zealand.
The All Blacks play Wales at 10pm on Friday.
All Blacks matchday 23 (Tests in brackets)
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)
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)