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Welsh wings aiming for Test spot

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/06/2016

Welsh coach Warren Gatland has told his two wings in Tuesday night's clash with the Chiefs that they are battling for a place in the second Test following George North's hamstring injury.

North is heading home this week having been ruled out of the rest of the tour with a significant hamstring tear that came in the last move of the 39-21 defeat to the All Blacks in Auckland.

"It's a significant tear, but we're unsure whether he needs an operation or not," said Gatland.

"It's a shame for George, he's hit a bit of form in recent months and he was outstanding in the first Test in attack with his foot-work. He caused the All Blacks a lot of problems, so it is a big loss for us."

However, now there was an opportunity for somebody else, not just on the wing but also in the midfield, Gatland said.

The game is a bit of a homecoming for Gatland, who was the hooker in the 1988 Waikato side that beat Wales in the first game of their eight-match tour that summer.

Born in Hamilton, his family still live in the city.

And he has warned his players to expect a warm reception, even though the home side will be missing eight All Blacks.

"I'm not sure that some of our players know what they have got coming... because the Chiefs players will be climbing the walls," he said.

"You don't get many opportunities to play international games any more.

Tom James and Eli Walker will feature on the wings for Wales with recent arrival Rhys Patchell gong straight onto the bench a mere two days after arriving in New Zealand.

Scott Williams teams up with Tyler Morgan at centre as one of seven players in the starting XV who played a part in the first Test at Eden Park.

The Chiefs, Super Rugby champions in 2013 and 2014, will mark their first game against an international touring team with a special haka before the game - the first time in their 20-year history that they have done so.

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