Wales coach Warren Gatland admits he is a bit edgy before
this weekend's test with the All Blacks.
Any match against the world champions was tough especially a
nation which had kept Wales in a concession headlock for the
last 59 years.
Generations had come and gone without seeing victory against
the All Blacks and Gatland understood the passion and hope
many patrons expressed to him and his team about overturning
The present All Blacks were the best team in the world and
would also rank highly with any team in New Zealand's
"We are under no illusions about the task and when you play a
quality side and especially the best team in the world, that
does put you on edge," he said.
They had been outstanding in their tour opener against
Scotland and while they had a few problems they got away
Meanwhile Gatland had surveyed many potential Lions
candidates being in losing teams against the Wallabies, All
Blacks and Springboks.
Originally he had wanted to just coach Wales against the
Wallabies to get more of a handle on their play before he
took the Lions Downunder next season. Being released from
Lions duty for this contest with the All Blacks was a bonus.
Wales have changed five of their starting lineup but have
kept both props, Paul James and Aaron Jarvis who were given a
torrid match last week by Samoa.
That had received a lot of attention and Gatland felt the
gains would appear on Sunday at the Millennium Stadium.
The side was strong physically and they had no fitness
issues. However, they needed to be strong with their belief
and concentration about how they planned to attack the
"It's a tempo thing, getting our heads right and facing the
challenge and being excited about the challenge," Gatland
said. Some of the younger members of his squad were facing
tasks they had never, or seldom, faced before.
Gatland did not see the last two defeats as a "serious" blip.
They did not have a great depth of players and if they had
injuries and unavailability they suffered.
The tough part was living up to the expectation created at
the World Cup and then in the Six Nations.
Some Welsh teams in the past were beaten before they took to
However, Gatland never lacked self-belief and he wanted Wales
to throw something different at the All Blacks to ratchet up
"You have got to be prepared to do a few things a little bit
different and take a few risks and that is what we will be
aiming to do."
- By Wynne Gray of the New Zealand Herald in Cardiff