After an inconsistent performance, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen says Dan Carter needs more game time after a long layoff.
After an inconsistent performance against Scotland, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen says Dan Carter needs more game time after a long layoff.
The all-time leading points scorer in Test rugby played his first Test for a year at Murrayfield but was some way off his illustrious best.
Beauden Barrett comes in at fly-half to face Wales, with Colin Slade named on the bench.
Hansen was sympathetic that Carter needs more game time to reach his peak, after sustaining an injury in the Super Rugby Final.
“If he’d come through the other day probably a little bit better, he might have been on the bench, but it’s impossible to ask a guy to have as much time off as he’s had and not be rusty,” Hansen told TVNZ.
“It’s great with him getting game time, we’ve got confidence that he’s right and he’s got confidence his body’s right, he just needs to go home now and play Super Rugby and lots of it.”
Hansen also elaborated on Aaron Cruden’s omission from the 23, highlighting his lack of versatility.
“We’re using this tour to find out more about the guys we’ve got, previously we’ve shown that when we’ve picked Beauden, it’s difficult for Crudes to come off the bench, cause we don’t think he’s got enough versatility.”
One other All Black to miss out is Israel Dagg, despite good form in 2014.
New Zealand have opted to play Charles Piutau again on the wing, switching from 11 to 14, after impressing against Scotland.
“On this tour he’s (Piutau) getting slowly better and better all the time and we saw enough in the Scotland game to say righto let’s see what he’s like against the big boys, and once we did that Ben had to go back to full-back and unfortunately Izzy missed out.
“Izzy’s had a lot of football this year, so we’re comfortable with the decision we’ve made.”