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Wales ready for one final shot at New Zealand

Published 24/06/2016

Neil Jenkins is ready for one last shot at New Zealand
Neil Jenkins is ready for one last shot at New Zealand

Wales must rouse themselves for one final shot at beating New Zealand for the first time in 63 years.

They have already lost the series despite credible performances against the reigning world champions in Auckland and Wellington.

But Warren Gatland's side can still achieve history at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium if they were to claim a first victory in New Zealand.

"It has been a long, hard year for the guys, but they have an important test match to play in Dunedin and that is all that is in their mind," said Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins.

"To beat the best team in the world would be a fantastic achievement. When you play the best side in the world on their own patch, and play against them in the way we have done, you can only grow from that experience.

"They will have learned a hell of a lot from this year and they all want to turn up, play well and win - then they can enjoy their holidays after that."

Gatland talked earlier in the week about how the numbers produced by the Welsh team this month have far exceeded what they have achieved against New Zealand in the past.

The three tries and a 14-point losing margin in Wellington last week were their best performances against the All Blacks outside of Wales.

But Wales must now turn numbers into points particularly against a new-look All Blacks squad showing 12 changes from last week as coach Steve Hansen begins the process of blooding new talent into Test rugby.

"New Zealand are missing a bit of experience, especially without Jerome Kaino, but if you play for the All Blacks you have to be pretty good," said Jenkins.

"The guys coming in are very good players and for us, the more we focus on ourselves the better.

"They want to get quicker every game and I have no doubt they will come again on Saturday. We have had a decent week this week and hopefully everyone will be refreshed.

"We have had two tough Test matches which have probably come down to 10-15 minutes both times when they have gone away from us. It is purely down to the fact they are the world champions, they know how to win and they keep on winning.

"We have yet to play for the full 80 but I have no doubt that if we can do that we will give ourselves a chance. We have wanted to from day one on this tour and the boys have kept growing and developing.

Wales have made two changes to their starting XV from the side that lost 36-22 in Wellington with props Rob Evans and Tomas Francis drafted.

The All Blacks show 12 changes, including three positional, including a debut for Highlanders flanker Elliot Dixon at his home stadium. Scrum-half Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick win their 50th caps.

Back-row Liam Squire and prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi could also make their Test debuts off the bench.

Head coach Hansen said: "With the series won, it came down to risk and reward and we felt the rewards of seeing these new players in the Test arena, after watching them for three weeks on the training pitch, outweighed any risks.

"But we're expecting another brutal Test match, with the expectation that Wales will again chuck the kitchen sink at us."

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