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Ardie Savea and Seta Tamanivalu set for New Zealand bows against Wales

Published 08/06/2016

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen took his squad to the World Cup title in England last year.
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen took his squad to the World Cup title in England last year.

Ardie Savea and Seta Tamanivalu are in line for their New Zealand debuts after being named in the matchday squad to face Wales.

The world champions will play the opening Test of the Steinlager Series against Wales at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Head coach Steve Hansen has named a squad boasting 720 caps but loose forward Savea and midfielder Tamanivalu are the new blood for the All Blacks from the bench.

Hansen said: "Whilst the opposition might believe that we're vulnerable because it's our first Test and we have lost some experienced players, we don't have that mindset.

"We have some very excited players who have trained well during the week and are getting the opportunity to make a statement about who they are and what the All Blacks jersey means to them.

"We're well aware that this is a good Welsh team and not one that we'll underestimate and we're looking forward to the challenge that comes with playing Test match football, which involves high-pressure moments and huge physicality.

"On a personal note, we would also like to congratulate (Wales') Alun Wyn Jones who looks set to play his 100th Test this weekend. It's a fantastic achievement."

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