Ardie Savea and Seta Tamanivalu set to make debut against Wales

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen took his squad to the World Cup title in England last year
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen took his squad to the World Cup title in England last year
©Press Association

Steve Hansen has announced that Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea and Chiefs centre Seta Tamanivalu are set to make their debut for New Zealand in the first Test against Wales at the Eden Park on Saturday.

Savea, brother of All Blacks star Julian, has been associated with the Hurricanes since 2013 and was selected in the All Blacks Sevens squad for Wellington 7s series in January.

Meanwhile, Tamanivalu who made his club debut in 2012 for Taranaki saw him win the 2014 ITM Cup player of the year and eventually made a switch to Super Rugby team Chiefs in 2015.

Hansen has played down the tag of All Blacks being a slow starter to the series and is confident of forward Savea and midfielder Tamanivalu performing at the international level.

The 57-year-old also congratulated Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones, who is set to make his 100th appearance for his country in the first Test on Saturday.

"Whilst the opposition might believe that we're vulnerable because it's our first Test and we have lost some experienced players, we don't have that mindset.

"We have some very excited players who have trained well during the week and are getting the opportunity to make a statement about who they are and what the All Blacks jersey means to them.

"We're well aware that this is a good Welsh team and not one that we'll underestimate and we're looking forward to the challenge that comes with playing Test match football, which involves high-pressure moments and huge physicality.

"On a personal note, we would also like to congratulate (Wales') Alun Wyn Jones who looks set to play his 100th Test this weekend. It's a fantastic achievement."

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