Warren Gatland makes 12 changes to the Wales side that will face New Zealand

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made 12 changes to the side which beat Georgia last week as he returns to his trusted senior players for the visit of New Zealand.

An all-changed pack sees Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis selected in the front row, Alun Wyn Jones captain the side from second row alongside Jake Ball, and Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau again form the back row partnership.

Rhys Webb retains his place in the starting XV to start at half-back alongside Ospreys team-mate Dan Biggar, while Owen Williams is again selected at inside centre and will partner Scott Williams as Jon Davies misses out through injury.

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Owen Williams returns as the second playmaker

 

Liam Williams is also ruled out through an abdominal injury, with Hallam Amos starting on the wing opposite Steff Evans with Leigh Halfpenny at full-back.

There is a recall to the squad for Justin Tipuric, who is deemed fit enough for a spot on the bench, where he is joined by 93-cap centre Jamie Roberts.

Although it is a much-changed outfit from last week’s win, there are only three new faces from the side that lost to Australia in the first test, as Warren Gatland continues to implement a new, wider, style of play.

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Justin Tipuric is back in the Wales squad

 

Speaking to BBC Sport, Warren Gatland was upbeat about his side’s chances against World Champions New Zealand, “It’s great to name an unchanged pack from the Australia match.

“We were pleased with a lot of aspects of our second-half performance in that match so we are looking to build on that on Saturday.

“We have a couple of injuries in the backline but we also have players on form starting. Steff Evans and Hallam Amos are both on form and we are excited to see what they can do.

“People are saying things about the All Blacks at the moment. They are more dangerous than ever on Saturday because it is their last game on the tour. They know how to win, how to grind out performances.

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland is reverted to familiar faces

 

“We are excited about the opportunity to play the best team in the world. If you can’t get up for that you shouldn’t be on the pitch.”

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Hallam Amos, Scott Williams, Owen Williams, Steff Evans, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Justin Tipuric, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts

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