Much has been made of the All Blacks’ loss of experience ahead of the Steinlager Series against Wales, but it is the Welsh who have made significant changes to their side for Saturday’s first Test at Eden Park.
Coach Warren Gatland has made five changes to his playing XV with four in the pack, from the side that lost to England last week.
Notably captain Sam Warburton will return to action on the flank for the first time since the end of April after recovering from his shoulder injury.
In the front row Gethin Jenkins and Ken Owens come in for Rob Evans and Scott Baldwin. The latter pair are included in the reserves, Baldwin ending a run of 11 consecutive starts for the side.
Joining Alun Wyn Jones who is making his 100th Test appearance at lock will be Bradley Davies.
Gatland has also named 22-year-old flanker Ross Moriarty on the side of the scrum, replacing Dan Lydiate who was injured against England and forced out of the tour.
Lydiate’s replacement Ellis Jenkins is included in the reserves after not being named in the original touring party.
There is no place in the side for Racing 92 lock Luke Charteris, nor in the reserves where Jake Ball is included.
Gatland said in announcing the side that a number of players had been given an opportunity in the selection. He added it was nice to add some experience in the front five.
“We are under no illusions how tough the Test series will be against the back-to-back world champions but the players are also aware how important this tour is.
“We’ve had a great welcome down here in New Zealand, the New Zealand public have again made us feel very welcome and there is a good feel to the Test series,” he said.
The Wales team is: 1.Gethin Jenkins, 2.Ken Owens, 3.Samson Lee, 4.Bradley Davies, 5.Alun Wyn Jones, 6.Ross Moriarty, 7.Sam Warburton, (captain), 8.Taulupe Faletau, 9.Rhys Webb, 10.Dan Biggar, 11.Hallam Amos, 12.Jamie Roberts, 13.Jonathan Davies, 14.George North, 15.Liam Williams.
Reserves: 16.Scott Baldwin, 17.Rob Evans, 18.Tomas Francis, 19.Jake Ball, 20.Ellis Jenkins, 21.Gareth Davies, 22.Gareth Anscombe, 23.Scott Williams.