Rugby

Wales change five for ABs

2012-11-20 15:49
Sam Warburton (AFP)

Cardiff - Warren Gatland wasted little time in making his presence felt upon his return as Wales coach, making five changes for Saturday's clash against world champions New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.

The New Zealander is back in charge for Wales's final two Tests of the European autumn series, against the All Blacks and the Wallabies, after starting his preparatory work as head coach for next year's British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

In his absence, Six Nations Grand Slam champions Wales have lost both their opening autumn Tests, against Argentina and Samoa, to make it five defeats in a row against all opponents.

Last year's World Cup semi-finalists have also slipped to eighth in the International Rugby Board rankings, imperilling their chances of a beneficial seeding at next month's draw for the 2015 edition in England.

Changes from last week's 26-19 loss to Samoa see starts for centre Jonathan Davies, flyhalf Rhys Priestland, flank and captain Sam Warburton, lock Luke Charteris and hooker Matthew Rees.

Davies has recovered from a groin problem to make his first appearance of the autumn series, replacing Ashley Beck.

Meanwhile, Priestland comes in for Dan Biggar, not considered because of a shoulder injury, Warburton replaces Justin Tipuric, Charteris takes over from the injured Ian Evans (knee) and former Wales captain Rees packs down alongside Paul James and Aaron Jarvis.

Wales haven't beaten New Zealand since 1953, losing 24 successive Tests against the All Blacks - who are unbeaten in 19 Tests against all-comers over the last 15 months.

Teams:

Wales:

15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Rhys Priestland, 9-Mike Phillips; 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Sam Warburton (captain), 6-Ryan Jones, 5-Luke Charteris, 4-Bradley Davies, 3-Aaron Jarvis, 2-Matthew Rees, 1-Paul James

Substitutes: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Gethin Jenkins, 18-Scott Andrews, 19-Aaron Shingler, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Tavis Knoyle, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams

New Zealand:

TBA

Read more on:    all blacks  |  wales  |  warren gatland  |  sam warburton  |  rugby
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