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Rugby | International Rugby

Richie McCaw © Gallo Images

NZ recall big guns for Wales



New Zealand have brought captain Richie McCaw and flyhalf Dan Carter back into a full strength side for Saturday's test against Six Nations champions Wales in Cardiff.

Openside flanker McCaw was rested for last week's 42-10 win over Italy while Carter started the match on the bench, but both were restored to the starting line-up along with fullback Israel Dagg and prop Owen Franks.

Andrew Hore got the nod at hooker for the Millennium Stadium clash after his usual rival for the spot, Keven Mealamu, was ruled out of contention by a calf injury.

Liam Messam retains his place at blindside flanker with Adam Thomson not considered for selection after the International Rugby Board (IRB) announced on Wednesday they were appealing his one-match ban for stamping in the tour-opening test against Scotland.

Winger Julian Savea, who might usually expect to be rotated, gets his third straight start on the European tour after scoring two tries in the 51-22 win over Scotland and again grabbing a brace against Italy.

Grand Slam champions in the Six Nations earlier this year, Wales have lost their last five tests and not beaten the All Blacks since 1953.

"We have always known this game will be a fiercely contested match," Hansen, a former Wales coach, said in a news release.

"We have known since the World Cup that this would be the game that they would be targeting in this Autumn Series, so any recent performances or results won't have any bearing on this match.

"We are all excited by what comes with this challenge, along with the fact that we will be playing in one of the world's greatest rugby stadiums."

The world champions are unbeaten for 19 tests going back to last year's loss to Australia in Brisbane.

Team: 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 11-Julian Savea, 10-Dan Carter, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 6-Liam Messam, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Luke Romano, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Andrew Hore, 1-Tony Woodcock

Replacements: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Wyatt Crockett, 18-Charlie Faumuina, 19-Brodie Retallick, 20-Victor Vito, 21-Piri Weepu, 22-Aaron Cruden, 23-Ben Smith



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