Wales to play ‘high risk’ ball against NZ

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iol spt nov23 Warburton Getty Images Wales will look to employ a high-risk ball in hand gameplan when they tackle the daunting task of a one-off Test match against world champions New Zealand.

Cardiff – Wales will look to employ a high-risk ball in hand gameplan when they tackle the daunting task of a one-off Test match against world champions New Zealand on Saturday, according to attack coach Rob Howley.

Howley was the interim coach of a Welsh side that slumped to two disappointing defeats by Argentina and Samoa in the last couple of weekends.

Head coach Warren Gatland is back at the helm for the final two autumn series matches against the All Blacks and Australia, on December 1, with Howley saying the players were using the two recent losses as “intrinsic motivation”.

“When you're playing against the world's best side, every minute counts,” stressed Howley, the former Cardiff, Wasps and Wales scrum-half.

Not only are the All Blacks world champions, but they're also on a 19-match winning run and last lost to Wales way back in 1953, posting 24 straight wins since then.

“It's important to dominate territory and possession early on,” an unbowed Howley insisted.

“That's what international rugby's all about. When you're playing against the world's best, what you don't want is to give them an early opportunity to get up on the scoreboard.

“So it's absolutely vital that we start well, get momentum, confidence and positive mind-set.”

Howley promised the Welsh side would not be sitting back waiting for the New Zealanders to play.

“We've spoken many times this week about our confidence, our ability to play with the ball and put New Zealand under pressure with a passing game,” he said.

“The one thing which you have to do in international rugby is be accurate whether you kick the ball, pass the ball and make decisions, and that's what we have to do for 80 one-minute spells on Saturday.”

Howley added: “There's something when you play New Zealand, you have to ask questions with the ball in hand, throw them something out of the box. High risk, high reward.”

The return of Gatland after the Kiwi coach spent the last two weekends scouting as part of his brief as coach of the British and Irish Lions for the June/July 2013 tour to Australia was a huge boost, Howley said.

“To have one of the best head coaches in world rugby back gives huge confidence to both players and coaches,” he said.

“That's why he's been selected as the British Lions coach. He's tactical, very astute, a very honest coach.” – Sapa-AFP

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