It’s been 56 years since Wales last beat New Zealand, and with the All Blacks not quite at their best recently, there is optimism amongst the Welsh that they could cause an upset.
However, England aren’t the only ones with injury problems – Wales have suffered too. Prop Adam Jones is a huge loss as he’s been a cornerstone of recent success, whilst full-back Lee Byrne will also be sorely missed.
Byrne’s injury does mean that James Hook will start in a side that also features Stephen Jones, so for those that trumpet the ‘get your best 15 players on the pitch’ philosophy may not be too disappointed. The backline has ability all the way through and the power of Jamie Roberts and Tom Shanklin should complement the elusiveness of Shane Williams and Leigh Halfpenny.
Things are looking good, you might think. However, take a look at what they will face on Saturday. Richie McCaw remains at the top of the rugby tree at openside, Dan Carter needs no introduction, and the midfield of Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith is enough to give any Welshman sleepless nights.
I’ll be cheering on Wales as I’d love to see them beat the All Blacks at the Millennium Stadium, but I don’t actually think it will happen – my SportGuru prediction is New Zealand by 13.