Members of the Welsh media have given their take on the state of their side ahead of tonight's test at Eden Park.

An article written by rugby correspondent Andy Howell for news website Wales Online has compared and rated both the All Blacks and Wales starting sides.

Howell states that the All Blacks are no doubt overwhelming favourites, but posed the question 'are Wales that far behind?'.

Given Howell's ratings, Wales hypothetically aren't far behind at all and the match up is a lot closer than one might first think.


In the article, each player was compared to their opposite and given a rating out of ten.

Despite Wales' shared experience of 764 caps (compared to New Zealand's 580), the All Blacks were rated higher overall, with Howell awarding the All Blacks 119 marks of a possible 150. Wales were not far behind with 115, hardly an overwhelming victory for the men in black.

The All Blacks won seven of the fifteen match-ups, and tied a further four.

According to Howell, Malakai Fekitoa, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden and Owen Franks are on par with the likes of Jonathan Davies, George North, Dan Biggar and Gethin Jenkins.

Key match ups won by Wales include second five-eighth, where 15-cap All Black Ryan Crotty was graded a 6/10, the lowest rating given. His opposite, 80-test Welshman Jamie Roberts, received an eight.

No. 8 Kieran Read was given an eight, but lost his match up with Wales' Taulupe Faletau who received a near-perfect nine and is his team's top rated player.

The All Blacks had four players rated 9/10: Ben Smith, Brodie Retallick, Dane Coles and Aaron Smith.

Howell writes that Read, who will take over full time All Black captaincy tonight, has not quite been the force of the past this year.

Crotty and Read have this year led the Crusaders to a table-topping 10 win two loss record going in to the June test window.

There are plenty of exciting match ups to look out for and we will find out tonight just how close the two teams are.