Wales will play to win, win or lose


Sam Warburton will give his players a simple message when they attempt to turn back the clock against world champions New Zealand in Saturday’s first Test – who dares, wins.

The Welsh skipper, fit to return to action in Auckland after a six-week stint on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, wants his team to be bold as they attempt to become the first team since France in 1994 to beat the All Blacks at Eden Park.

If they can do that it would be one of the biggest upsets in the game’s recent history and would end a 63-year wait for a fourth win over New Zealand.

Since they last beat the All Blacks, 13-8 in Cardiff on December 19 1953, they have lost 26 consecutive games.

“The players are extremely motivated given the very poor record we’ve got against New Zealand and we are all desperate to change that,” said Warburton.

“We are going to have to take a few risks and we can’t afford to be conservative and expect to win.

“The thing with New Zealand is you’re only ever one mistake away from conceding seven points and two from 14 points – the scoreboard can change within the click of your fingers.

“You have to take risks – he who dares, wins.”

Warren Gatland’s side have an edge in terms of experience – 765 caps in their starting 15 to the All Blacks’ 580 – but that is about the only statistic in their favour.

The All Blacks are unbeaten at home in their last 38 Tests stretching back to 2009 and have lost only twice in their last 40 internationals.

But coach Steve Hansen says they need to hit the ground running with a revamped side since the departure of several key veterans in the wake of last year’s World Cup triumph

And so, the Northern hemisphere tour gets underway this Saturday evening at the 6:35 pm kick-off.  Wales almost always have the chance to take a fresh All Black team down as they have flown to the other side of the world and have not had any serious game time as a team.

Wales still remember 1953 when they put the All Blacks second, but it has been 27 straight losses thus far.

Few are expecting that run to change, but Wales is going to come out with an attitude that should make for good watching.


– AP via Newshub, BBC

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