INTERNATIONALS

Wales ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ against All Blacks, says coach Warren Gatland

The tourists are seeking to avoid a series whitewash against New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday after losing 39-21 in Auckland and 36-22 last week in Wellington

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 11:36am

Wales coach Warren Gatland has urged his players to “stop shooting themselves in the foot” and cut out the mistakes as they look to avoid a total rout in their three-test series against New Zealand.

The scorelines indicate the tourists were thumped in the first two Tests against the All Blacks but Gatland argues his side were competitive most of the time, but were severely punished for momentary lapses.

They lost the first test in Auckland 39-21 and the second in Wellington last week 36-22.

Wales go into the third test in Dunedin on Saturday looking for the full 80 minute performance that has eluded them so far on tour, and with Gatland confident they are closing in on the world champions.

He said their recent performances were better than the last time they met in Cardiff two years ago, when Wales led 16-15 with 11 minutes to play and let in three late tries for the All Blacks to record a 34-16 win.

“We made double the number of passes we made in 2014, we made the All Blacks make double the number of tackles they had to make in 2014, territory and possession were well up,” he said.

“We’ve just got to keep up that pressure and stop shooting ourselves in the foot by making some of those costly errors.

“We feel like we’re stressing them at times and playing positive rugby and putting them under pressure.”

Wales led in the Auckland test until the All Blacks came from behind with three tries in the closing 20 minutes.

In the second test it was Wales who scored at the end, but by then the game was gone after they let in four tries over a 15 minute period midway through the second half.

“In both games we’ve seemed to switch off for five or 10 minutes and it’s been hugely costly for us so we’ve got to make sure we’re accurate for that whole period,” Gatland said, adding the problems were “fixable”.

Injured Wales forwards Gethin Jenkins and Bradley Davies return home ahead of third All Blacks test

Wales have lost 28 consecutive tests against the All Blacks since they last celebrated victory with a 13-8 win in Cardiff in 1953.

For the third and final test, Gatland has made two changes with props Rob Evans and Tomas Francis coming in for Gethin Jenkins, who is injured, and Samson Lee.