Rugby | All Blacks expect front row onslaught from Wales

Cape Town – New Zealand front row stalwarts Charlie Faumuina and Dane Coles expect any Wales prop or hooker, whether starting or coming off the replacement bench, to offer stiff opposition when they go head-to-head in the upcoming series.

Faumuina, who is a strong scrummager, has amassed 33 caps for New Zealand and believes that neutralising Wales hardman Sampson Lee at the set-piece will give the hosts an edge over Wales.

“No matter who goes in or out, they’re forward focused, and they love to play off their set piece,” Faumuina told Fairfax Media.

“Whoever gets the opportunity to go out first has to look to wear them down.

“Samson is a big scrummager – that’s his bread and butter. It’s about us making sure we wear him out throughout the game.”

Coles, a prolific runner with ball in hand known for crossing the whitewash regularly, has also made 33 appearances for the three-time World champions, since making his debut in 2012.

The 29-year-old said he noticed that Wales are giving their tight five more freedom to run with the ball.

“They played a bit different against the English, their forwards were using the ball a bit more, trying to bring a different skillset, I reckon,” said Coles.

“They’re pretty dominant at scrum time as well, like most of those (northern) sides, and they’ll rate their chances up front. 

“So it’s a good challenge for our group going up against them. There’s a little bit of new stuff but they’re still the traditional Welsh side looking to base a lot of their attack off set piece stuff.”

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