Struggling Wales to feel full brunt of All Blacks
Agence France-Presse in Cardiff
World champions New Zealand go into their test match against Wales today as overwhelming favourites as they seek to defend a 27-match winning run in their November internationals dating back to 2002.
But it could all have been so differently scripted a year ago. That was when a flamboyant Welsh side performed so well at the World Cup.
They then went on to win a third Six Nations Grand Slam in eight years.
Consistency, the key element the All Blacks have nailed down, has well and truly deserted Wales, a loss for whom on Saturday would represent a sixth consecutive defeat, their worst run of defeats since 2003.
Defeats over the last two weeks by Argentina and Samoa, combined with the three-test losing tour to Australia in June, mean that Wales have not won a match since early June when they beat the Barbarians 30-21.
And history will definitely not be on Wales' side come Saturday. The match is the 29th test match between the two teams, with the All Blacks having won 25 times, and Wales' last victory coming way back in 1953.
New Zealand are also unbeaten in 19 matches over the last 15 months, with their last defeat in an autumn series being a 31-28 loss to England in 2002.
They are expected to triumph even if flyhalf Dan Carter does not play, after he pulled up in training on Thursday.