Wales v New Zealand - Autumn international match preview
Last Updated: 23/11/12 6:34pm
Assistant coach Robin McBryde knows Wales must produce "something special" at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday if they are to beat New Zealand for the first time since 1953.
The All Blacks come into the match on a 19-Test unbeaten run and fresh from victories over Scotland and Italy so far on their European tour.
In contrast, Six Nations champions Wales have suffered defeats to Samoa and Argentina on the last two weekends - and will be without winger George North because of a hip injury sustained in training.
"They are the one side you measure yourself against. They are the world champions, the ones you want to beat," McBryde said.
"We have not only focused on New Zealand this autumn, but you know it takes something extra, something special, to match the All Blacks and to beat them.
"We have jumped on any sign of a perceived weakness. They have said they were not happy with their performances in Scotland and Italy. Scotland put them under a bit of pressure and managed to keep them under pressure in their 22 leading up to one of their tries, and Italy also caught them on one or two scrums and took the game to them as well."
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter was ruled out on Friday after hurting his ankle in training the previous day. Aaron Cruden will take Carter's place in the starting XV, with Beauden Barrett joining the bench.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who had a spell in charge of Wales from 2002 to 2004, expects the home side to come out firing in response to criticism of their recent displays.
Hansen said: "I don't have too much sympathy for them - I am in the opposition camp these days! But what it does do is I know it will make them tighter. Invariably, when they get criticised, they get tighter. It will make them more dangerous, I think."
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips; 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins, Scott Andrews, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Travis Knoyle, James Hook, Scott Williams
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith
Wales v New Zealand
Richie McCaw was ‘pretty proud’ to cap his 100th Test as New Zealand skipper with a resounding victory over Wales.
Wales will attempt to end a decades-long hoodoo when they take on world champions New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.
Robin McBryde says Wales will be inspired by the presence of Owen Williams when they face world champions New Zealand.
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- North injury blow for Wales
- All Blacks recall McCaw
- Warburton backs Gatland return
- Gatland expects improvement
- Wales recall skipper Warburton