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Warren Gatland: Wales must cut out errors to beat New Zealand

Published 23/06/2016

Warren Gatland is hoping to lead Wales to a historic victory against New Zealand
Warren Gatland is hoping to lead Wales to a historic victory against New Zealand

Warren Gatland believes the mistakes that have cost Wales so dearly in the first two Tests against world champions New Zealand can be easily rectified in Dunedin this weekend for the final game of the series.

Wales conceded three tries and 21 points in the final 15 minutes in Auckland and then shipped four tries and 26 points in 15 minutes in Wellington as they lost the series. But as well as conceding 10 tries over the two games to date, they have also scored five of their own.

Head coach Gatland wants his players to make one final push in a bid to end a run of 28 consecutive defeats against New Zealand over the past 63 years.

"It's all about staying in the match. In both games to date we have seemed to switch off for five or 10 minutes and that has been hugely costly for us," said Gatland.

"Those 10 minutes last weekend in Wellington when they scored three tries were very costly. The players have been hard on themselves and been pretty honest in identifying where we let ourselves down with mistakes.

"Last Saturday the guys felt pretty good at half-time at 10-10, but about 10 minutes later New Zealand were scoring three tries. So, from a starting point of view, there are some real positives, but we must stop shooting ourselves in the foot.

"We have to make sure we are accurate all game. The attitude in training has been excellent and we've freshened them up for one final assault on the All Blacks after a long season.

"From where we were when we last played New Zealand in 2014, we made the All Blacks make double the number of tackles against us last weekend and our territory and possession were up. What we have to do now is turn those numbers into pressure and points.

"We feel we are stressing them at times, but we have got to make sure we are more accurate and cut out the errors.

"We have played some good rugby in the first two Tests and we want to finish the tour on Saturday with an 80-minute performance that we are happy with."

Gatland made two changes to his starting XV from the side that lost 36-22 in Wellington last weekend with Rob Evans and Tomas Francis coming into the front row. Both players move up off the bench, with Evans taking over at loosehead from the injured Gethin Jenkins and Francis swapping places with Samson Lee.

Jake Ball returns to the bench in place of the injured Bradley Davies to provide second row cover, while Aaron Jarvis takes over as a front row replacement from Evans. Davies joined Jenkins and Josh Turnbull on the plane home earlier in the week because of a knee injury.

Wales skipper Sam Warburton will become only the 10th player to play 50 Tests as an international captain (including two for the British & Irish Lions).

Gatland's opposite number Steve Hansen has made five changes changes to his starting XV.

Flanker Elliot Dixon will make his debut while Beauden Barrett, Charlie Faumuina, George Moala and Julian Savea also come into the side.

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