Injuries and the release of non-players due to the game falling outside of the agreed upon World Rugby window greatly influenced Pivac’s choice, but one constant between now and this past March is the presence of Alun Wyn Jones as skipper for his 149th test appearance, surpassing Richie McCaw’s record of 148 appearances for New Zealand.
Pivac has named an experienced front row with teammates Scarlets and Lions Wyn Jones and Ken Owens joined by Tomas Francis of the Ospreys. This is a back-to-back Ospreys duo with Adam Beard alongside Captain Jones. The Dragons trio of Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright gets the green light in the last row.
Cardiff’s Tomos Williams and Ospreys’ Gareth Anscombe line up mid-back in what will be Anscombe’s first test since his serious injury in August 2019. Scarlets center Johnny Williams and Jonathan Davies take his place in the middle field with Cardiff wingers Josh Adams and Owen Lane bridging the gap with Scarlets full-back Johnny McNicholl in the backfield.
“The goal for this group has been two weeks of training. They worked really, really hard and it galvanized them. We have been few in number this week so it was not the normal preparation in terms of exact numbers to train against each other, so it was a challenge, ”said Pivac, who had to make his selection knowing that Liam Williams, George North, Josh Navidi and Justin Tupuric were missing due to injury and Louis Rees-Zammit, Dan Biggar and Taulupe Faletau were unavailable due to their club base in England. Scrum-half Davies, another holder in Paris, is named to the bench this weekend.
– RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 27, 2021
“The guys are really excited but they know it’s a big job to do. The reality is that we are two years away from a Rugby World Cup and we are working on it. We have a Six Nations around the corner to defend. They know there is a huge challenge ahead. Every young Welsh player growing up wants to play in the Principality in front of 75,000, and if you ask them who they want to play against New Zealand, this would be one of the few teams they would choose.
“With the injuries and the downtime this is another great opportunity for players like Taine Basham and Ben Thomas to step into the squad and gain valuable experience. They’re going to come out of this test match knowing what it’s like to play against one of the best teams in the world.
“To win a World Cup you have to play against teams like New Zealand at some point in the tournament and you have to win those games. It will be a great experience for these guys who haven’t played much in test rugby and they will definitely know that they have been in a game afterwards.
WALES (vs New Zealand, Saturday)
15. Johnny McNicholl; 14. Owen Lane, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Johnny Williams, 11. Josh Adams; 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Tomos Williams ; 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones (capitaine), 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Taine Basham, 8. Aaron Wainwright. Représentants : 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Rhys Carre, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Will Rowlands, 20. Seb Davies, 21. Gareth Davies, 22. Rhys Priestland, 23. Ben Thomas.
– RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) 28 October 2021
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