All Blacks captain Read out of Wales game

Kieran Read (L) and Sam Whitelock have won a combined 204 caps for New Zealand
Autumn internationals: Wales v New Zealand
Venue: Principality Stadium Date: Saturday, 25 November Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

New Zealand captain Kieran Read will miss Saturday’s game against Wales in Cardiff with a sore back.

Lock Sam Whitelock, 29, leads the team for the first time in his 96th international appearance.

Read’s place is taken by Whitelock’s younger brother Luke, who is making his second appearance four years after his debut.

The All Blacks side shows three changes from the 22-17 win over Scotland last weekend.

Patrick Tuipulotu takes over from Luke Romano at lock with Liam Squire on the blindside for Vaea Fifita.

Openside flanker Ardie Savea has not recovered from mumps and misses out on the match-day 23.

The All Blacks have won 30 of their 33 meetings with Wales, and have not lost against them since 1953.

Sam Whitelock is his country’s most-capped second row and has a family connection to that last defeat in Cardiff.

His grandfather, George Nelson Dalzell, was in the All Blacks side which lost 13-8 in Cardiff.

Asked about the 29-match winning run, Whitelock replied: “It’s funny you should bring up that game because my grandfather played in that game.

“I’ve been waiting for that question for a while. It’s not something that was talked about (in the family) a lot.

“It’s one of those things you can’t change and we’re always looking forward to the next game.

“We are aware of the record to a point, but we don’t put a lot of time and energy onto that.”

Read, the most experienced player in the All Blacks squad with 109 caps, had been struggling with a hip flexor injury but had returned to training on Thursday when he hurt his back.

Coach Steve Hansen said: “Whilst it’s disappointing to not have ‘Reado’ available, it’s a great opportunity to further grow the leadership of the team and, in this case, Sam Whitelock gets the opportunity to captain the side.

“With his brother Luke captaining the All Blacks against the French XV, it will create a unique, All Blacks family history, and one which their family can be proud of.”

New Zealand: McKenzie; Naholo, Crotty, Williams, Ioane; B Barrett, Smith; Hames, Taylor, Laulala, Tuipulotu, S Whitelock, Squire, Cane, L Whitelock.

Replacements: Harris, Crockett, Tu’ungafasi, S Barrett, Todd, Perenara, Sopoaga, Lienert-Brown.

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