Whitelock to lead All Blacks against Wales

Whitelock to lead All Blacks against Wales

The All Blacks team has been named to play Wales in the third Test of the All Blacks Northern Tour at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Saturday 25 November with lock Sam Whitelock to captain the All Blacks for the first time.


The matchday 23 is as follows (with Test caps):

1. Kane Hames (8)
2. Codie Taylor (28)
3. Nepo Laulala (12)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (15)
5. Samuel Whitelock (95) - captain
6. Liam Squire (14)
7. Sam Cane (52)
8. Luke Whitelock (1) 
9. Aaron Smith (70)
10. Beauden Barrett (61)
11. Rieko Ioane (12)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (45)
13. Ryan Crotty (34)
14. Waisake Naholo (17) 
15. Damian McKenzie (11)
16. Nathan Harris (10)
17. Wyatt Crockett (70)
18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (13)
19. Scott Barrett (13)
20. Matt Todd (12)
21. TJ Perenara (41) 
22. Lima Sopoaga (15)
23. Anton Lienert-Brown (21)


29-year-old Whitelock, the most capped All Blacks lock of all time, takes over as Captain for Kieran Read, who will miss the Test because of injury. Read has been replaced at number eight by Luke Whitelock.

There is one other injury-enforced change to the matchday 23 which played Scotland last week: Patrick Tuipulotu comes in for Luke Romano. Meanwhile, Liam Squire will start at blindside flanker, and lock Scott Barrett comes onto the bench in the 19 jersey.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "Whilst it's disappointing to not have 'Reado' available, it's a great opportunity to further grow the leadership of the team and, in this case, Sam Whitelock gets the opportunity to captain the side. On behalf of the team, we'd like to congratulate him on this special honour.

"With his brother Luke captaining the All Blacks against the French XV, it will create a unique, All Blacks family history, and one which their family can be proud of."

Steve Hansen added: "There's been a real energy and buzz in the team this week as we prepare for the Test against Wales.  The group has worked hard on its preparation, we've asked them to go bone deep and they're looking to deliver a performance we can all be proud of.

"It's always a pleasure to play in stadiums like the Millennium.  We experienced a magnificent atmosphere last week up in Murrayfield and looking forward to a full house on Saturday.  The Welsh are well known for their singing and that, in itself, creates something special.  As always, we have been treated incredibly well here in Cardiff and have thoroughly enjoyed our week."

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