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Gatland guessed right but All Blacks unfazed

November 21, 2014 11:09:40 UK

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is unconcerned opposite number Warren Gatland guessed right who would play at first five-eighth against Wales.

Gatland has been saying since Tuesday that New Zealand would start Beauden Barrett in the No 10 jersey at the Millennium Stadium.

He was proved right when Hansen unveiled his selections on Thursday, and the All Blacks coach suspects Wales have been spying on his training sessions.

But it’s not something that fazes Hansen as he prepares his side for the final match of their tour.

“You would have to ask [Gatland] if he’s been watching. I don’t care if he has,” said Hansen. “They still have to stop us [and] we have to stop what they do.”

Barrett started for the All Blacks in their final Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Brisbane on 18th October, but Aaron Cruden was first choice against the United States and England while Dan Carter was given the nod to face Scotland last weekend.

Hansen said the plan for the tour was to give the three players an opportunity on tour.

“We’ve seen Crudes on this tour against one of the big teams in England and we wanted to see Beauden in one as well, so clearly the Welsh game was the one he’d be picked for,” the coach added.

“We are using this tour to find out more about the guys we’ve got and previously we’ve shown when we pick Beauden it’s difficult to pick Crudes on the bench because we don’t think he has enough versatility.”

Ben Smith is retained at fullback ahead of Israel Dagg and Charles Piutau makes his second straight start on the right win in a Test where Richie McCaw will captain the All Blacks for a 100th time.

Conrad Smith returns at centre outside in place of Sonny Bill Williams, who returned to New Zealand for personal reasons before the match against Scotland.

New Zealand are 1.53 to score first, while Wales can be backed at 6.00 to win the match.

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