Three things about the All Blacks side to face Wales in Wellington

By Cameron McMillan

Sam Whitelock returns to play his 74th test. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Sam Whitelock returns to play his 74th test. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Three things you need to know about the All Blacks team to face Wales in the second test in Wellington on Saturday night.

SAVEA OUT

Julian Savea has been dropped from the squad after being substituted from the field just three minutes into the second half of the first test win. It seems a long time since last year's World Cup when he scored eight tries in three games. It means he won't be able to improve on his try-scoring run which saw him move into 14th on the all-time list last weekend with 39 from 42 games. His tries per test ratios sits at 0.928, well ahead of All Blacks leading try scorer Doug Howlett who scored 49 tries in 62 tests at 0.790.

DAGG IS BACK

Israel Dagg will play his 50th test for the All Blacks after debuting at fullback against Ireland in 2010. Whitelock, former Blues centre Benson Stanley and Ben Franks also made their debuts that day. Dagg last played against South Africa in Johannesburg last July before missing out on the World Cup squad.

The man he replaces at fullback will also bring up his 50th test. Ben Smith who made his debut on the wing against Italy in 2009 will start in the 14 jersey. Smith was only used at fullback once in his first 27 tests before starting against England in 2014 and has only started at in the 15 jersey in 15 of his 39 test starts. Smith has gone four tests without a try, the equal longest try-scoring drought of his career. Smith made his debut in Milan alongside Mike Delany and Tamati Ellison.

WHITELOCK RETURNS

Speaking of a try-scoring drought, Whitelock returns for the All Blacks following a hamstring injury. He hasn't scored in tests since 2012 against South Africa, 39 tests appearances ago. Whitelock will play in his 74th test to sit tied for 15th in most All Blacks tests. He's six behind Ian Jones who played the most All Blacks tests for a lock.

- NZ Herald

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