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All Blacks Ring The Changes For Third Place Play-Off With Wales

All Blacks

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has made seven changes to the side who lost out to England in the World Cup semi-final last week for their third-place play-off against Wales on Friday. 

Dane Coles comes in at hooker for Codie Taylor, Shannon Frizell starts at blindside flanker for Scott Barrett who moves to the second row replacing Sam Whitelock while Sam Cane starts at openside flanker replacing Ardie Savea. Taylor, Whitelock and Savea all drop out of the 23.

Both centres and wings are changed for the All Blacks, with Anton Liernert-Brown dropping to the bench with Sonny Bill Williams starting at 12. Jack Goodhue gets dropped out of the 23 for Ryan Crotty who starts at 12 along with wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece, who are replaced by Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith.

There are seven players who remain in the New Zealand starting XV that beat Wales 33-18 in November 2017. Nepo Laulala, Sam Cane, Aaron Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane and Beauden Barrett who started at fly-half in the 2017 match but starts at full-back in the bronze final.

Friday’s game against Warren Gatland’s side marks the final Test of Steve Hansen’s reign. The 60-year-old departs with a plethora of honours. During his tenure, the All Blacks won the 2015 Rugby World Cup, The Rugby Championship six times and the Bledisloe Cup in all of his eight seasons in charge.

Kick-off on Friday is 6pm local time (9am UK/Irish time). The referee for the bronze final is Wayne Barnes.

New Zealand team v Wales: 

1. Joe Moody
2. Dane Coles
3. Nepo Laulala
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Scott Barrett
6. Shannon Frizell
7. Sam Cane
8. Kieran Read (capt.)
9. Aaron Smith
10. Richie Mo’unga
11. Rieko Ioane
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Ryan Crotty
14. Ben Smith
15. Beauden Barrett

16. Liam Coltman
17. Atu Moli
18. Angus Ta’avao
19. Patrick Tuipulotu
20. Matt Todd
21. Brad Weber
22. Anton Lienert-Brown
23. Jordie Barrett


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Author: Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at or on Twitter