Wales take on New Zealand in Cardiff on Saturday looking to end a horrendous 29-match losing streak against the All Blacks, which last saw them triumph over the world champions way back in 1953.
They have to significantly up their game on Saturday if they’re to have any chance of beating Steve Hansen’s men after a poor performance during a narrow 13-6 win over a brave Georgia, who advanced their case to join the Six Nations.
While Steve Hansen’s men, who narrowly beat Scotland 17-22 on Saturday, will be looking to end their season on a high after another outstanding season which has seen them win twelve games, draw one and lose only two.
The dangerous Liam Williams – one of Wales’ few bright spots on Saturday – is an injury doubt for the weekend after suffering an abdominal injury. If he fails to make it, we’d bring in the reliable Leigh Halfpenny at 15.
Exciting Dragons winger-cum-fullback Hallam Amos, who touched down for his second try in successive games on Saturday, starts on the right wing with Scarlets flyer Steff Evans, who made a fine home debut against Australia a week last Saturday, on the other wing.
Owen Williams who impressed against the Wallabies in his first international start is at 12 with Scarlets centre Scott Williams at 13.
Rhys Priestland, one of the few Welsh players to emerge with any credit from Saturday’s game, starts at ten ahead of Dan Biggar due to the fact that he offers a greater attacking threat than the combative Ospreys man.
While Rhys Webb, arguably Wales’ best player on Saturday, continues at nine.
Scarlets prop Rob Evans who was outstanding in the loose against Australia is at loosehead with Ken Owens wearing the No. 2 shirt.
With the strong scrummaging Samson Lee still struggling with an achilles injury and yet to return to full training, Exeter Chiefs’ Tomas Francis starts at tighthead while Scarlets lock Jake Ball, who carried tirelessly against Australia, partners skipper Alun Wyn Jones in the second-row.
Aaron Shingler, having caught the eye against Australia, starts at six, fending off the challenge of Saturday’s Man of the Match Dan Lydiate by virtue of the fact that he offers more in the loose and for his lineout work.
Taulupe Faletau is at eight with Justin Tipuric at seven if he overcomes a thigh injury. If the Ospreys flanker fails to make it, we’d have Josh Navidi at openside.
While on the bench, youngsters Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Leon Brown offer cover at hooker, loosehead and tighthead respectively.
The versatile Seb Davies covers the second-row with Josh Navidi covering the backrow. In the event of Navidi starting due to Tipuric’s injury, we’d bring Dan Lydiate in on the bench.
Behind the scrum, Gareth Davies covers scrum-half with Ospreys starlet Owen Watkin offering midfield cover with Leigh Halfpenny covering the wing and full-back positions.
The Wales XV To Take On New Zealand:
15. Liam Williams
14. Hallam Amos
13. Scott Williams
12. Owen Williams
11. Steff Evans
10. Rhys Priestland
9. Rhys Webb
1. Rob Evans
2. Ken Owens
3. Tomas Francis
4. Jake Ball
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Captain)
6. Aaron Shingler
8. Taulupe Faletau
7. Justin Tipuric
16. Elliot Dee
17. Wyn Jones
18. Leon Brown
19. Seb Davies
20. Josh Navidi
21. Gareth Davies
22. Owen Watkin
23. Leigh Halfpenny
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