Wayne Pivac has named eight Cardiff Rugby stars in his Wales squad to take on New Zealand in the Autumn Nations Series on Saturday.
Wales return to the Principality Stadium to take on the All Blacks for the first time since the third place play-off in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Boosted by the availability of Wales’ British & Irish Lions contingent but without English-based players, Pivac has still named a familiar 23, with Blue and Black trio Tomos Williams, Owen Lane and Josh Adams in the starting line-up.
Alun Wyn Jones captains the side and becomes the most capped international of all time, surpassing Richie McCaw’s previous record of 148 Tests.
“The focus for this group has been two weeks of training, they’ve worked really, really hard and it has galvanised them. We’ve been low on numbers this week so it hasn’t been the normal preparation in terms of exact numbers to train against each other, so that’s been a challenge,” said Head Coach Wayne Pivac.
“The guys are really excited but they know it’s a big task at hand. The reality is we’re two years away from a Rugby World Cup and we’re building towards that. We’ve got a Six Nations around the corner to defend, and try to win that tournament again.
“They know it’s a massive challenge ahead. Every young Welsh player when they’re growing up want to play at the Principality in front of seventy-five thousand, and if you ask them who they want to play against New Zealand would be one of the top couple of sides they’d choose.
“With injuries and unavailability it’s another great opportunity for players like Taine Basham and Ben Thomas to come into the group and gain valuable experience. They’re going to come away from this test match knowing what it’s like to play one of the best teams in the world.
“To win a World Cup you have to play against teams like New Zealand at some stage in the tournament and you have to win those games. It’s going to be a great experience for those guys who haven’t played a lot of test rugby and they’ll certainly know they’ve been in a match afterwards.”
Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Rhys Priestland and Ben Thomas are all included among the replacements, while Kirby Myhill has also been called into the extended Autumn squad.
Wales team to face New Zealand, at Principality Stadium, on Saturday 30th October 2021;
15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Adam Beard, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Taine Basham, 8 Aaron Wainwright
16, Ryan Elias, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Seb Davies, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Ben Thomas
Don't forget, we have a limited number of tickets remaining for Wales' clash with New Zealand and their entire Autumn Nations Series schedule. We're also hosting the Guinness Fanzone so make sure you pop along to Cardiff Arms Park, whether it's for a pre-match pint of Guinness or to watch the game on our big screen!