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All Blacks is 'ideal fixture' - Rees

Matthew Rees knows what it is like to experience the pain of defeat against world rugby's biggest superpower.

Six times Rees has tried and failed to be part of a winning Wales team against New Zealand but even after suffering successive home losses to Argentina and Samoa, results that inevitably sapped confidence levels, Rees has billed Saturday's clash with New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium as an ideal fixture.

"It's great for us to be facing the All Blacks this week," Rees said. "We know if we play like we did in terms of our last two performances then we are going to be in for a tough day at the office and probably concede a lot of points. There are no illusions. We know that we've got to turn up on Saturday."

He added: "We are a tight bunch who have been working hard together. You cannot fault the working week, but we know it's not about the working week.

"Obviously, it helps in terms of your preparation, but it's game day that counts and that is the most important thing this week."

While New Zealand are on a 19-Test unbeaten run against all opponents - Australia were the last team to defeat them 15 months ago - Wales have dropped to eighth in the world rankings.

The formbook therefore points to an emphatic All Blacks success on Saturday, although Wales can draw on memories of 2004 and 2009 in Cardiff when they finished within a score of winning and drawing, respectively.

"We haven't put in a performance during the past two weeks as a team and individuals, and it has been a bit of a wake-up call," added Rees, who has been capped 55 times.

"But we don't become a bad team overnight. We've had great success over the last 12-14 months and we've had a bit of a blip.

"When you face the world champions in your own back yard, as a player, a team and nation, if you can't get up for that then there is something wrong with you."


From Belfast Telegraph