All Blacks skipper Read to miss Wales clash

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New Zealand will be without captain Kieran Read for their final fixture of 2017 against Wales.

Read will miss Saturday's clash in Cardiff, the star forward having suffered a back injury.

As a result, Sam Whitelock will take his place as skipper, with brother Luke Whitelock assuming the number eight role. 

The only other change for the All Blacks that has been enforced by injury sees Patrick Tuipulotu replace lock Luke Romano. Liam Squire is set to start at blindside flanker, with lock Scott Barrett named on the bench.

"Whilst it's disappointing to not have Reado available, it's a great opportunity to further grow the leadership of the team and, in this case, Sam Whitelock gets the opportunity to captain the side," coach Steve Hansen said.

"On behalf of the team, we'd like to congratulate him on this special honour.

"With his brother Luke captaining the All Blacks against the French XV, it will create a unique, All Blacks family history, and one which their family can be proud of.

"There's been a real energy and buzz in the team this week as we prepare for the Test against Wales.

"The group has worked hard on its preparation, we've asked them to go bone deep and they're looking to deliver a performance we can all be proud of."

 

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Kane Hames, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock (captain), Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Luke Whitelock.

Replacements: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown.