New Zealand will look for a second victory in as many matches against Wales when the two teams meet in a Test match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday. The All Blacks proved to be too strong for Wales in the first Test, and the world champions, again, will go into this one as the clear favourites.
More so, after Wales lost one of their key players – George North – to injury. North will take no further part on this tour of New Zealand after injuring his hamstring late in the loss to the All Blacks last weekend.
Having gone down 39-21 in the first Test, Warren Gatland needs to find a way to solve the New Zealand puzzle if his Wales team are to stay alive in the series. However, any hopes of rousing the best out of the players who missed out on the match against the All Blacks, were crushed after a second string Wales side lost 40-7 to the Chiefs, despite the latter now having their strongest unit out on the field.
"The defeat to the Chiefs was hard to take, but that huge backlash is worth it for the development of the players," Gatland was quoted as saying by the Guardian. "I would do it again because it is worth it for the future of Welsh rugby.
"We did well in the first Test for the first 60 minutes and then stopped playing. We know the areas where we have to improve, not least dealing with their kicking strategy."
A lot of teams have said that about New Zealand – it was only just the fine margins or we lost because we did not concentrate till the end – but the fact of the matter is, the All Blacks are the best international rugby team in the world for a reason. And on Saturday, it will be far from a surprise if New Zealand come up trumps again.
"It would be disrespectful to say Wales can only win one of the Test matches because they are a very good team," All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was quoted as saying Wales Online. "They are hurting now and that will make them dangerous. They'll be coming double spades at us and we'll have to match that.
"I know, from my time there, they can play good rugby. The Welsh have got good ball-skills and hand to eye co-ordination. We saw that last Saturday, when they attacked quite well. They will be encouraged by that and will want a real good crack, which is great."
Teams: New Zealand: I Dagg, W Naholo, M Fekitoa, R Crotty, B Smith, A Cruden, A Smith; J Moody, D Coles, O Franks, S Whitlock, B Retallick, J Kaino, S Cane, K Read (C).
Replacements: N Harris, W Crockett, C Faumuina, P Tuipulotu, A Savea, TJ Perenara, B Barrett, S Tamanivalu.
Wales: R Patchell, L Williams, J Davies, J Roberts, H Amos, D Biggar, R Webb; G Jenkins, K Owens, S Lee, L Charteris, A W Jones, R Moriarty, S Warburton, T Faletau.
Replacements: S Baldwin, R Evans, T Francis, B Davies, E Jenkins, G Davies, G Anscombe, S Williams.
Where to Watch Live
New Zealand vs Wales is scheduled for a 7.35 p.m. local time (1.05 p.m. IST, 8.35 p.m. BST) start. There will be no live TV coverage of the match in India. Sky Sports 1 will broadcast the Test live in the UK, with the online live streaming option on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. Viewers in New Zealand can watch the match live on Sky Sport 1, with the live stream option on Sky Go NZ.
Audience in Asia can watch the match live on Setanta, while South Africa viewers can catch the action on SuperSport 1 and SuperSport Live Video.