WHEN Wales square off against New Zealand to determine which team will take the third spot in the 2019 Rugby World Cup they will face a team that they have not beaten in the since 1953 but both teams are motivated to give it their best.
Wales have made nine changes the World Cup bronze medal match, which will mark head coach Warren Gatland’s departure after 12 years in charge.
In selecting his team for the match against the Kiwi’s Gatland kept a core of experience with Alun Wyn Jones leading the side on his 134th appearance for Wales, backed up by fellow Lions Jonathan Davies, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty. He also selected players who have had a minor role at the tournament in Japan. Hallam Amos, Nicky Smith and James Davies, will also get an outing, along with Owen Lane who arrived last week as a replacement for Liam Williams.
About his departure as the coach he said: “I never thought I would be in Wales for 12 years. I have been incredibly lucky to coach the players I have and work with such an incredible backroom staff. It has been very challenging but worthwhile. It is the end of an era for a lot of people and I am so proud of this group.”
Gatland said it would be easy to throw in the towel but the players have lifted themselves and they will give their all.
New Zealand made eight changes from the side that was overwhelmed by England in last Saturday’s semi-final. Kieran Read will lead the side from No 8 in his last Test while Ben Smith and Sonny Bill Williams will also have their final outings in the black jersey before moving to play abroad.
“It was a tough team to select because everyone wanted to play,” said the New Zealand head coach, Steve Hansen, who is also in charge of the All Blacks for the last time.
“There has been a lot of external talk about this being a game no one wants, but we can’t wait to play it. Everyone, players and management, wants to show that our last performance was not at the high standard we know we can play at,” he said.
The match is set to kick-off at 11:00.
15 Hallam Amos, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Davies, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Nicky Smith
Substitutes: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Wyn Jones, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Hadleigh Parkes
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 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