The Welsh and New Zealand teams have been named for the rugby union international at Millennium Stadium Test on the 27th of November, 2010.
This is the last test on the All Blacks’ end of year tour, and the only test standing in the way of their grand slam. If successful it will be their third grand slam since 2005, and their fourth in All Black history. It would also equal the record for most successful grand slams by a Southern Hemishere team, tied with South Africa. The All Blacks should be confident of victory, having not lost a end of year tour test in Europe since 2002, not lost to the Welsh in over 50 years, and because of the notorious draw between Wales and Fiji last week. However, they will be wary of a desperate Wales team and wanting to put an exclamation point on a very succesful 2010.
Historically Graham Henry has used team selection of the last test of Northern tours to reward players’ form for that year, and to ensure finishing the year on a high. For that reason the selection for this test holds some interesting implications. Most of the team pick themselves. However, the selection of Sonny Bill Williams and Isaia Toeava would imply that they have overtaken All Black 2010 standouts Ma’a Nonu and Corey Jane on the pecking order.
Dan Carter only needs one penalty kick to overtake Jonny Wilkinson’s test point scoring record of 1178. It would be against the same team he made his debut against in Hamilton in 2003. In that same match, Brad Thorn finally made his All Black debut, having converted from rugby league in 2001, shunned All Black selection for a sabatical then returning in 2003. This will be Brad Thorn’s 50th test match. An awesome achievement for someone who can also list Super Rugby champion, 200 NRL games, 14 State of Origin games for Queensland and 8 tests for the Kangaroos, the Australian Rugby League team.
The Welsh team features a new captain in Matthew Rees, with Ryan Jones having been axed as captain after the draw with Fiji. However, Ryan Jones has been named to start at no. 8. Teenage wing sensation George North, Lee Byrne, Adam Jones and Sam Warburton back up from the draw last week. Mike Phillips, Stephen Jones winger Tom James come into the side.
Wales and All Black teams for Millennium Stadium Test 2010:
Lee Byrne, George North, Tom Shanklin, James Hook, Tom James, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips, Ryan Jones, Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Bradley Davies, Adam Jones, Matthew Rees (captain), Gethin Jenkins. Reserves: Huw Bennett, Paul James, Jonathan Thomas, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Richard Rees, Andrew Bishop.
All Blacks team:
Mils Muliaina, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear, Daniel Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Daniel Braid, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Ma’a Nonu.