All Blacks vs Wales : RWC 2019 All Blacks vs Wales Live. Steve Hansen’s All Blacks are clearly still hurting as they trudge a little disconsolately into Friday’s bronze medal match against Wales at this Rugby World Cup. And the departing coach wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hansen unveiled a predictable lineup on Wednesday in Tokyo featuring the core of the side toppled 19-7 by England in last weekend’s semifinal, with a sprinkling of fresh faces, including a quartet of departing All Blacks on their last lap of the track.
There are seven changes to the starting XV and another three on the bench for the match no one wants to play in, but goes ahead anyway because, frankly, it is just too big a money-maker for World Rugby.
Both head coaches – Warren Gatland of Wales and New Zealand’s Steve Hansen – will be leaving their respective posts when the final whistle blows, both having garnered huge success in their roles and being keen to go out on a high.
Hansen’s All Blacks won the last two tournaments, and will be aiming for a final win in what is also captain Kieran Read’s final international, while the Welsh have the opportunity to equal their best-ever finish having come third in 1987’s inaugural competition.
Both coaches have rung the changes since their semi-final defeats, due to a combination of injuries and offers of World Cup game-time to previously benched squad members.
How to watch:
The Herald will be live blogging the match on nzherald.co.nz, with build-up starting from 8pm, while Spark Sport’s coverage starts at 9pm and the game is also live on TVNZ 1.
Alternatively, you can live stream the match on sparksport.co.nz or the Spark Sport app.
Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB will have exclusive live commentary from 9.30pm.
Odds: All Blacks $1.09, Wales $6.50
Head to head: The two sides have met 34 times, with New Zealand winning on 31 occasions. Wales have claimed only three victories – the last coming on 19 December 1953 in Cardiff.
In one of nine alterations to his starting XV, Gatland is handing a World Cup debut to 21-year-old Owen Lane, who was a late call-up to the squad to replace injured Josh Navidi last week. Tournament top try-scorer Josh Adams, however, retains his place; his six tries leaves him currently two off the shared record, and one ahead of South African finalist Makazole Mapimpi.
For New Zealand there are seven personnel changes with an extra positional alteration as Scott Barrett moves from flanker to lock with Shannon Frizzell and Sam Cane back in the back-row.
Dane Coles gets the start at hooker. Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith are on the wings, with Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty coming in at centre.
Wales boss Gatland hopes players overlooked earlier in the tournament will want to make their mark.
“There are a few guys who hopefully want to go out and prove a point that perhaps they should have had more rugby in this tournament,” said the New Zealander.So getting up for this next challenge will be one of the toughest of their careers and it’s likely several players not involved in the England loss will get a run; men such as Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty are likely to play, along with Sonny Bill Williams, on the bench for the last two games here.
For Wales, Hallam Amos replaces Halfpenny at full-back, while tournament top try-scorer Josh Adams completes the back three as he starts his seventh World Cup match.
Jonathan Davies starts again after returning to the side against South Africa and is partnered in the midfield by Owen Watkin, with Hadleigh Parkes dropping to the replacements.
Parkes will be joined on the bench by Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar, with half-backs Rhys Patchell and Tomas Williams handed starts.