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Rob Howley urges Wales to 'make history' in New Zealand

Rob Howley wants Wales to "make history" in Auckland on Saturday by downing New Zealand in their own back yard to end a run of 63 years without a win over the reigning world champions.

You have to go back to December 1953 for the last time Wales came out on top against one of their biggest rivals, but assistant coach Howley insists the weight of history, and 26 successive defeats, won't affect the players as they prepare for this month's three-Test series.

"We are here to try to change history from what has gone before us - that's our goal," he said. "When you talk about confidence and self-belief, there is an external perception about where this Welsh team is and an internal one.

"For us, it is about turning the belief and confidence we have and our own internal perception into a bit of a siege mentality. That can often benefit teams when you come over to the southern hemisphere because history is against you.

"We need to change history and by trying to create a siege mentality it will hopefully put us in a good space some time on Saturday and help us to put the All Blacks under pressure on some occasions."

The last time the All Blacks played they beat Australia to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups. That was seven months ago and, since then, they have lost 450 caps worth of experience following the retirements of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

There is concern across New Zealand that new skipper Kieran Read and his side could get caught on the hop.

But they have not lost against another nation at Auckland's Eden Park since the French beat them in 1994 and are clear favourites to win the series against Wales.

"We are all aware of the fact it is New Zealand's first game since the World Cup, while we have had several games. Everyone talks about them losing Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, but I've never known a transition period in New Zealand rugby," added Howley.

"But there is an opportunity for us. They have a new captain and that often changes the dynamics of the group. When you play against New Zealand you will take every single per cent that might give you an edge.

"New Zealand set the standard in world rugby and the one word that comes to mind is relentless. With and without the ball they are relentless.

"It is a different game in the southern hemisphere compared to the north in terms of the intensity of the game, the ball in play time and the numbers in the contact area.

"We know it is going to be high-octane, high-intensity, ball-in-hand stuff against them."


From Belfast Telegraph