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Wales adopting siege mentality in NZ

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/06/2016

Welsh star George North in action against England at Twickenham Stadium last month. © Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Welsh star George North in action against England at Twickenham Stadium last month. Wales admit they're taking a siege mentality into their Test series against the All Blacks.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley says management decided a circling of the wagons is the best way to mentally approach one of world rugby's stiffest tasks - beating the world champions on their home soil.

The Welsh have never managed that in seven previous attempts and you have to go back to 1953 since their most recent win in Cardiff.

Howley is well aware his team have been written off ahead of the first of three Tests, at the All Blacks' Eden Park fortress on Saturday, but says the players will ignore that.

"There is an external perception about where this Welsh team is and an internal one. For us, it is about turning the belief and confidence we have into a bit of a siege mentality."

"To play the World Cup champions in their home back yard on a stage at which they haven't lost since 1994 (Eden Park), it's something to embrace."

Most commentators believe Wales won't be able to match the speed and intensity of the All Blacks, opining that the Six Nations promotes one-dimensional rugby compared to what is regularly played by the more adventurous Southern Hemisphere teams.

Howley points out that Wales are moving steadily towards the southern style. They scored more tries and threw more passes than any team in finishing second behind England in the Six Nations.

"Skill set under pressure is vital in the modern game and we're continually working on it," he said.

"New Zealand's speed and intensity will certainly ask questions of the skill set and the mindset. They set the standard in world rugby and the one word that comes to mind is relentless."

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