Dixon to debut for much-changed All Blacks


Flanker Elliot Dixon will make his first Test appearance for New Zealand against Wales on Saturday, while there could also be two further debutants for the All Blacks in Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Liam Squire.

After seeing his side win the three-match series with a game to spare courtesy of their victory in Wellington last week, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has elected to make wholesale changes for the final contest in Dunedin.

Dixon has been selected to start at number six and George Moala earns his second Test cap at outside centre as a replacement for the injured Malakai Fekitoa.

Fly-half Beauden Barrett starred from the bench last week and earns a start with Aaron Cruden unavailable, while wing Julian Savea is also among those recalled and the uncapped Tu'ungafasi and Squire will each hope to feature from the bench.

"With the series won, it came down to risk and reward and we felt the rewards of seeing these new players in the Test arena, after watching them for three weeks on the training pitch, outweighed any risks," said Hansen.

"It'll be exciting to see these new players making their mark for the first time in the black jersey.

"That said, we're expecting another brutal Test match, with the expectation that Wales will again chuck the kitchen sink at us. We've seen over the last two Tests that they're a very good side who play physical, combative and innovative rugby."

Brodie Retallick and Aaron Smith will both earn their 50th Test caps, having debuted in the same match against Ireland in 2012.


New Zealand team for third Test against Wales: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, George Moala, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Elliot Dixon, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (captain).

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Luke Romano, Liam Squire, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Lima Sopoaga, Waisake Naholo.