5 Nov 2009

Henry says six changes not demeaning to Wales

6:43 pm on 5 November 2009

The All Blacks coach Graham Henry insists his decision to make six changes in his starting line-up to play Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff this weekend isn't demeaning to the home side.

Henry had to make two changes to the team that beat Australia in Tokyo last weekend with 20-year-old debutant wing Zac Guildford replacing Sitiveni Sivivatu and Wyatt Crockett taking over from prop Tony Woodcock because of suspensions for foul play.

But Henry's gone further with halfback Brendon Leonard coming in for Jimmy Cowan while, up front, Kieran Read starts at No.8 ahead of Rodney So'oialo, flanker Jerome Kaino replaces Adam Thomson and lock Jason Eaton takes over from Tom Donnelly.

New Zealand haven't lost to Wales since 1953, a run of 20 straight Test wins, but Henry says the changes are to make to make sure 33 players on the tour get an opportunity to play.

Dan Carter has been named at first five despite a calf injury which has prevented him from training.

Henry says if Carter isn't up to scratch by the weekend he'll be replaced by Stephen Donald.