New Zealand: All Blacks ring the changes for Wales as Aaron Smith is set to reach special milestone

David Skippers
All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith looks on over a scrum during a Test match.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has rung the changes to his matchday squad for their Autumn Nations Series Test against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

Foster has made 11 alterations in all to his starting line-up, after they sealed a narrow victory against Japan in Tokyo last weekend.

This game will see Aaron Smith making his 113th Test appearance for New Zealand which means he will surpass Dan Carter as the most capped backline player in All Blacks history.

Smith is back at scrum-half with Richie Mo’unga continuing at fly-half, while Beauden Barrett is named at full-back. Meanwhile, Caleb Clarke and Sevu Reece retain their spots as the starting wings.

Elsewhere in the backline, Jordie Barrett has returned to start at inside centre and joins Rieko Ioane in the midfield. Fellow centres David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown have both been named as cover on the replacements bench.

In the front-row, Codie Taylor gets the nod at hooker and he packs down alongside Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax, who are the starting props, while Scott Barrett is back in the engine room where he is partnered by Samuel Whitelock, who captains the side in place of the injured Sam Cane.

Ardie Savea, returns at number eight while Dalton Papali’i and Shannon Frizell are the two flankers.

Ofa Tu’ungafasi set to hit 50

Meanwhile, replacement front-row Ofa Tu’ungafasi is set to win his 50th international cap if he comes off the bench.

Providing cover at scrum-half, Brad Weber is in line for his first Test appearance of the 2022 campaign.

“Playing Wales on the road always represents an exciting challenge,” Foster said. “We have a number of players returning to the side and we know we will need to play with a high intensity against this physical Welsh team.

“Last year the roof at Principality Stadium was open due to Covid regulations but this time it will be closed. It will ensure an amazing atmosphere for fans and players.”

Foster has also confirmed that utility back Will Jordan will not take part in any of the Autumn Nations Series Tests due to a persisting vestibular issue.

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock (c), 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Brad Weber, 22 David Havili, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, November 5
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

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