Friday, 6 November 2009

Wales face colossal task

Graham Henry's New Zealand side are fiercely determined to preserve their unbeaten streak against Wales at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow in the opening encounter in this autumn's Invesco Perpetual Series.

It’s been 56 years and 20 Tests since Wales lowered the colours of the mighty All Blacks and none of the current side are going to relinquish that record without a fight. Former Wales coach Steve Hansen and now All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen insists the players can handle the pressure as Wales looks to break the hoodoo.

"They've got a lot of experience. It's no different to a drought, there's always one day closer to it raining. One day they will win, let's hope it's not this weekend," he said.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is expecting Wales to throw the kitchen sink at his side.

"They come out with a lot of passion and they hoe into things. I can't see that being too different this time,” he said.

"They had us under a bit of pressure (last year) but you always believe if you get hold of the ball and get at the right end of the field you can put pressure back on them."

Warren Gatland’s side led 9-6 at the interval last year, but the All Blacks proved unstoppable in the second half with 23 unanswered points, including five pointers for Jerome Kaino and Ma’a Nonu. Tomorrow’s side will see 12 survivors from the Welsh side from that game while the All Blacks have seven returning hoping to add more hurt to the Welsh side.

And if the Welsh side think the All Blacks are there for the taking, having lost four internationals this year, then they could be in for a nasty surprise.

As Kieran Read said: “We know the All Blacks haven't lost for over 50 years and you don't want to be part of that team that loses," he said.

Wales: James Hook (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts (all Cardiff Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper; Gethin Jenkins (both Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones (both Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Andy Powell, Martyn Williams (both Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Duncan Jones (both Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Dafydd Jones, Martin Roberts, Jonathan Davies (all Scarlets), Tom James (Blues).

New Zealand: Mils Muliaina (Waikato Chiefs); Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Zac Guildford (all Wellington Hurricanes); Dan Carter (Canterbury Crusaders), Brendon Leonard (Waikato Chiefs); Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury Crusaders), Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata (both Wellington Hurricanes), Brad Thorn (Canterbury Crusaders), Jason Eaton (Wellington Hurricanes), Jerome Kaino (Auckland Blues), Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read (both Canterbury Crusaders).
Replacements: Corey Flynn, Owen Franks (both Canterbury Crusaders), Tom Donnelly, Adam Thomson, Jimmy Cowan (all Otago Highlanders), Stephen Donald (Waikato Chiefs), Ben Smith (Otago Highlanders).

Referee: Craig Joubert (SA)


Post a Comment

| Home | Main Site | About Us | Contact Us | Follow us on Twitter | Join us on Facebook |