Thursday 22 August 2019

Kieran Read ruled out of New Zealand clash with Wales as Sam Whitelock named captain

Kieran Read of New Zealand reacts during the test match between France and New Zealand at Stade de France on November 11, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Kieran Read of New Zealand reacts during the test match between France and New Zealand at Stade de France on November 11, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

New Zealand captain Kieran Read will miss the All Blacks' clash against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The number eight, who has won more than 100 caps, is sidelined by a back injury, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen told reporters.

Read is replaced in the back-row by Luke Whitelock, with lock Sam Whitelock skippering the side for the first time.

One other injury-enforced change from the team that beat Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend sees lock Patrick Tuipulotu taking over from Luke Romano.

Elsewhere, Liam Squire starts in the back-row as New Zealand chase a 30th successive victory over Wales.

Hansen said: "While 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.

"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 (in Lyon), it will create a unique, All Blacks family history, and one which their family can be proud of.

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"There has 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 are looking to deliver a performance we can all be proud of."

Team: D McKenzie; W Naholo, R Crotty, S B Williams, R Ioane; B Barrett, A Smith; K Hames, C Taylor, N Laulala, P Tuipulotu, S Whitelock (capt), L Squire, S Cane, L Whitelock.

Replacements: N Harris, W Crockett, O Tu'ungafasi, S Barrett, M Todd, TJ Perenara, L Sopoaga, A Lienert-Brown.

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