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Exhausting year nearly over for Wales

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/06/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Wales are relieved their marathon year of non-stop rugby is about to end, admitting a global season can't come quickly enough.

The tourists vow to give it 100 per cent when they play the third Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

But after that comes a blessed break, their first for more than 12 months.

The leading Welsh players gathered in Cardiff in mid-June last year to begin preparing for the World Cup.

Saturday's game will be the 18th for Wales in the last 10 months. When not wearing the red jersey, the players have had club and regional commitments.

Asked if the unco-ordinated nature of the rugby calendar was "ridiculous", assistant Neil Jenkins had no doubt.

"It is. The modern game, it's tough, there's no doubting that.

"There have been tough Test matches, a lot of good Test matches but I'm sure once the final whistle goes tomorrow night, they'll have a couple of beers and enjoy their rest."

Jenkins noted the four-yearly World Cups historically favoured players from the Southern Hemisphere, who get a break of several months when it finishes.

For European-based players, it only marks the beginning of what is already an intense club and international schedule.

New Zealand have long-pushed for a global season to ease the workload for players in both hemispheres but such a switch has met resistance, mostly from rich European club leagues.

"Maybe it will happen. Who knows?" Jenkins said.

"There's a lot of restructure and a lot of talk to go on to finalise that.

"It's quite tough to play for this length of season and play at levels that are expected of the players."

Jenkins doesn't want weary legs to be an excuse when they try to notch a first win of what has been a taxing month in New Zealand.

He repeated the same line as others in the tour party over the past two weeks, that playing for 80 minutes is critical against the fast-finishing hosts.

"We want to turn up and we want to play and we want to win," he said.

"The guys will enjoy their holidays after it."

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