20 Nov 2008

All Blacks coach sticks with bulk of side that beat Ireland

9:05 am on 20 November 2008

New Zealand coach Graham Henry stuck with the bulk of the side that beat Ireland last weekend when he named his team to play Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

But the former Wales boss was forced into announcing the names of three props, pending the outcome of front-row Tony Woodcock's disciplinary hearing later today.

Woodcock has been cited for striking with the fist during the All Blacks' 22-3 victory over Ireland at Croke Park last Saturday.

The only confirmed change to the team that started that match is in the backs where Richard Kahui replaces the injured Conrad Smith at outside centre.

Wales haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953, a run encompassing 19 Tests, but Henry says he expects the reigning Six Nations grand slam champions to push his side hard.

Tri-Nations champions New Zealand are bidding to complete a grand slam of their own against the four Home Nations.

They are halfway there having already beaten Scotland and Ireland.

New Zealand team: Mils Muliaina; Joe Rokocoko, Richard Kahui, Ma'a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu; Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan; Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino; Ali Williams, Brad Thorn; Tony Woodcock/Neemia Tialata/John Afoa; Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock/Neemia Tialata/John Afoa. Reserves: Corey Flynn, Anthony Boric, Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Stephen Donald, Isaia Toeava.