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Gatland upbeat despite second Test loss

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/06/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Wales coach Warren Gatland © Getty Wales coach Warren Gatland Warren Gatland has emerged from a personal week from hell insisting his Wales team can topple the All Blacks at their third and final attempt.

The Welsh coach was upbeat despite Saturday's 36-22 loss in the second Test at Wellington, a week after losing the opener 39-21 in Auckland.

He sang from the same songsheet afterwards, believing there is a smaller gap between the teams than the scorelines suggest.

He took heart from match statistics heading into Saturday's third Test in Dunedin.

After having about 40 per cent of the possession and territory in Auckland, Wales reduced the All Blacks to those percentages in Wellington.

They paid for letting their guard down midway through the second spell, conceding four rapid-fire tries after the scores were locked 10-10 at halftime.

"They've had a 10-minute period where they've been absolutely clinical and ruthless, and that's been the difference," Gatland said.

"Those are the small margins we have to be better at.

"We're creating chances and the players are already aware of a couple of things that next week they will do a little bit different."

Gatland hopes the performance will mute his critics, who rounded on the tourists following their midweek team's 40-7 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

The decision to even play the game was criticised, although Gatland contended the painful experience will be good for his team in the long run.

It had taken a toll on the New Zealander.

"You learn about how to handle the pressure and the criticism, because that's been the most severe thing about the last week.

"I've taken an absolute battering, haven't I?"

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