– Average score: New Zealand 30.53 vs 10.23 Wales –
Wales have the unenviable task of taking on New Zealand, in their first Test since their Rugby World Cup triumph, in Auckland on Saturday.
The All Blacks swept all before them at the global showpiece last year, and although there have been several changes in their playing staff since that triumph in England, the world champions will be keen to prove that they can still deliver dominant performances.
New Zealand are without the services of legendary players like Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, who all retired from Test rugby after last year’s World Cup victory. But head coach Steve Hansen has made contingency plans with all the above mentioned players’ replacements already experienced internationals.
McCaw’s replacement Sam Cane has big boots to fill as he is taking over from a genuine icon of the game, while new captain Kieran Read and fellow loose forward Jerome Kaino will be keen to hit the ground running as they haven’t played well on a consistent basis for the Crusaders and Blues respectively this year.
Despite losing the aforementioned veterans, Hansen has, where possible, stuck with the players who helped his country win that World Cup and nine of the players starting in this Test were also in the run-on side in their win over Australia in the World Cup Final.
The loss of Nonu and Smith in midfield, who amassed 197 caps between them, will be keenly felt and it will be interesting to see how their replacements, Ryan Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa, perform against Wales’ experienced midfield combination of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies.
The visitors are overwhelming underdogs and will have to do what they have never done before – beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.
Such an achievement will be a hugely significant feat, as apart from the fact that they haven’t been on the winning side against their hosts in their own backyard, Wales have not beaten the All Blacks in 26 matches since 1953.
Victory over the world champions would not just be a special and memorable achievement for the country but also for their New Zealand-born head coach Warren Gatland, who wouldn’t have dreamed of ever coaching against the country of his birth during his time as a provincial player for Waikato and as a dirt-tracker for the All Blacks.
Gatland’s name has been mentioned to coach the All Blacks in the future and, although Hansen’s successor will not be appointed any time soon, the Wales boss can improve his chances of getting that job one day by winning a Test in New Zealand.
Wales head into this clash on the back of a Six Nations campaign where they finished second but they didn’t cover themselves in glory when they suffered a 27-13 loss against a second-string England side at Twickenham at the end of last month.
That defeat proved costly as they lost their uncompromising and tough-tackling flanker Dan Lydiate to injury, but his absence has been offset by the return of inspirational captain Sam Warburton, who has recovered from a shoulder issue.
|Overall Stats New Zealand||Overall Stats Wales|
|Games Played||30||Games Played||30|
|*Games Won||27||*Games Won||3|
|*Games Lost||3||*Games Lost||27|
|Games Drawn||0||Games Drawn||0|
|*Longest Losing Streak||2||*Longest Losing Streak||26|
|*Largest Points For||55||*Largest Points For||37|
|*Largest Points Against||37||*Largest Points Against||55|
|*Largest Losing Margin||-5||*Largest Losing Margin||-52|
|*Total Points For||916||*Total Points For||307|
|*Avg Points For||30.53||*Avg Points For||10.23|
|*Total Points Against||307||*Total Points Against||916|
|*Avg Points Against||10.23||*Avg Points Against||30.53|
|*Total Points Difference||609||*Total Points Difference||-609|
|*Avg Points Difference||20.30||*Avg Points Difference||-20.30|
|* = By New Zealand||* = By Wales|
|Past Ten Meetings|
|22-Nov-14||Wales||16||34||New.Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|24-Nov-12||Wales||10||33||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|27-Nov-10||Wales||25||37||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|26-Jun-10||New.Zealand||29||10||Wales||Waikato Stadium Hamilton, New Zealand|
|19-Jun-10||New Zealand||42||09||Wales||Carisbrook Dunedin, New Zealand|
|7-Nov-09||Wales||12||19||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|22-Nov-08||Wales||09||29||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|25-Nov-06||Wales||10||45||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|5-Nov-05||Wales||03||41||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
|20-Nov-04||Wales||25||26||New Zealand||Millennium Stadium Cardiff, Wales|
POSSIBLE RR World Rankings outcome on Result
NZL (on 95.77 points) at home -vs- WAL (on 82.18 points)
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If NZL win by 1-15 points||0.000||95.77||82.18||No|
|If NZL win by more than 15||0.000||95.77||82.18||No|
|If result is a draw||1.000||94.77||83.18||No|
|If WAL win by 1-15 points||2.000||93.77||84.18||No|
|If WALwin by more than 15||3.000||92.77||85.18||No|
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Seta Tamanivalu
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Scott Williams
Date: Saturday, June 11
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Will Houston (Australia)