Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Davies demands better from Wales

Bradley Davies is under no illusions about Wales' task against New Zealand

Bradley Davies has underlined the standard Wales must reach in their quest for a stunning triumph over adversity against world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

The odds are not so much stacked against last season's World Cup semi-finalists and RBS 6 Nations title winners, but in danger of engulfing them. It is hard to remember the last time Wales found themselves written off as a distant 6/1 chance to win at home.

"What we realise as a squad is that we have to turn up and all deliver nine out of 10 performances, but it is possible," second-row forward Davies said. "We have done it in the past when we have performed very well and we have all played to a high standard. I think the biggest thing is the mentality.

The dust has still not settled following unexpected losses against Argentina and Samoa, defeats that have left Wales clinging to a place among the world's top eight teams.

If the All Blacks claim their anticipated Millennium Stadium success - and then Australia win in Cardiff seven days later - Wales are likely to enter next month's 2015 World Cup pool draw as a third-tier participant.

They must also face New Zealand - a country they last beat 59 years ago - without injured stars like 2013 British and Irish Lions-in-waiting George North, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones and Dan Lydiate. Head coach Warren Gatland, though, is now back in charge after time away making initial preparations for heading up that Lions tour of Australia

And Davies added: "A lot of teams lose before they play the All Blacks because they are a very good team and sometimes that gets on top of you a bit, so it is about getting our minds right and believing we can do it."

And while the smart money is probably on an All Blacks victory margin of between 15 and 20 points, Wales are also undoubtedly capable of making the game a thrilling contest.

"We have to believe in ourselves," Davies said. "We are playing the best side in the world and it is going to be a very difficult challenge, we are under no illusions about that, but we have no fear.

"I love playing against the All Blacks. As a professional, there is no greater challenge than playing the best team in your sport. No matter who plays for Wales on Saturday, they will step up and bring their A game."

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