Vito to make full debut against Wales
June 17, 2010
Victor Vito will make his full debut against Wales © Getty Images
Flanker Victor Vito's promotion for his run-on debut is the solitary change to the All Blacks' starting 15 for the first test against Wales on Saturday.
After making his test debut off the reserves bench just before halftime in the 66-28 win over Ireland last weekend, Vito replaces Jerome Kaino in the No.6 jersey for Saturday's farewell to Carisbrook. There are three changes on the bench, with prop Tony Woodcock replacing Neemia Tialata, flanker Adam Thomson in for Vito with Kaino rested from the 22, and utility Richard Kahui for Zac Guildford.
Gavin Thomas will return from international exile when he lines up for Wales. The 32-year-old, who has not played for Wales since the tour of Australia in 2007, has been named to start on the openside flank in one of three changes to the team that lost 34-31 to South Africa at the start of the month.
Thomas gets his chance due to the absence of Martyn Williams (rested) and Sam Warburton (broken jaw) and will have no better opportunity to press his claims for World Cup selection after an impressive season with the Newport Gwent Dragons. The other change in the pack is lock Alun Wyn Jones who gets the nod ahead of Deiniol Jones, who moves to the bench. In the backs, Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop is drafted in for James Hook, who has remained in Wales to undergo shoulder surgery.
New Zealand: I Dagg (Highlanders); C Jane (Hurricanes), C Smith (Hurricanes), B Stanley (Blues), J Rokocoko (Blues); D Carter (Crusaders), J Cowan (Highlanders); B Franks (Crusaders), K Mealamu (Blues), O Franks (Crusaders), B Thorn (Crusaders), A Boric (Blues), V Vito (Hurricanes), R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), K Read (Crusaders).
Replacements: A de Malmanche (Chiefs), T Woodcock (Blues), S Whitelock (Crusaders), A Thomson (Highlanders), P Weepu (Hurricanes), A Cruden (Hurricanes), R Kahui (Chiefs)
Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), A Bishop (Ospreys), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), T Prydie (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), AW Jones (Ospreys), J Thomas (Ospreys), G Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys, capt)
Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Cardiff Blues), R McCusker (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), D Biggar (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets)