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Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

Gatland challenges beaten Wales

Warren Gatland
Gatland has lost four of his five Wales games since winning the Grand Slam

Warren Gatland has told his brave Wales team to learn from their New Zealand mauling or they will never experience the magic of beating the All Blacks.

The Kiwis thrashed Grand Slam winners Wales 29-9 at the Millennium Stadium.

But instead of forgetting about their 20th successive defeat against the All Blacks, coach Gatland wants his Wales team to learn from the pain of defeat.

Gatland said: "We must build on that defeat, it is about improving and developing to compete with the best."

Six Nations champions Wales have not beaten a southern hemisphere powerhouse since defeating Australia in November 2005.

And the Welsh have failed to beat the mighty All Blacks since 1953 but Gatland's long-term mantra as Wales coach is to transform the European kings into world-beaters.

The hugely-respected Kiwi coach won the Grand Slam in his first campaign as Wales coach.

But since that achievement the Welsh have lost three times to world champions South Africa and now to New Zealand.

Wales prepare for their final autumn Test showdown with the remaining southern hemisphere giant, Australia, in Cardiff on Saturday.

"When I was appointed Wales coach I thought we were two years away from what I consider to be a really good side," said Gatland.

"And we will but we've got to continue playing the best teams in the world, that's the only way we're going to get better.

"We've made a lot of progress but we must continue to develop and learn from defeats like this.

"At this stage we are not able to maintain the level of intensity and pressure for 80 minutes and that's what we must learn.

"We must build on today's defeat so we can play that coal face of the white heat of the very top of international rugby and do it for 80 minutes.

"That's something you can't coach, you can try and replicate it in training but the only real way is by playing these top-class teams on a regular basis - and that's what we are doing."

606: DEBATE
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A hat-trick of Stephen Jones penalties gave Wales a 9-6 half-time advantage but Tri Nations champions New Zealand showed their clinical and ruthless edge after the break.

Jones' fly-half rival Dan Carter kicked 19 points while Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino touched down to confirm the tourists' dominance in Cardiff.

"The All Blacks are the best team in the world at the moment," said Gatland.

"So I was really proud of the first-half performance, I thought we played outstandingly well.

"We had a good deal of possession, we kept the ball and played with some continuity. We put them under pressure and defended really well.

"But in the second half we didn't have enough ball, we weren't quite clinical enough and defensively fell off a few tackles. That is all part of the learning process."

New Zealand coach and former Wales supremo Graham Henry was impressed by the Welsh.

"They were a very good Welsh side who played a lot of good rugby and troubled us a lot," said Henry.

"They will be disappointed with the result but they should be proud of their advances in the game.

""I think Wales are within a decent shout of beating the Australians next week."

Henry praised his team's performance as New Zealand now hope for a northern hemisphere clean sweep against England at Twickenham next weekend.

He said: "To hang in there under pressure and come through is a mark of the character of this side. We scored 23 points to none in the second half and that is huge.

"I thought we were superb in the second half which was probably the best 40 minutes of rugby we had produced all year. It was a hell of a good Test match that was mightily competitive.

"We can start talking about the grand slam now it is a reality."

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see also
Wales 9-29 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Welsh
Gatland praise despite defeat
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales v New Zealand: Full record
27 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand rugby songs
27 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
27 Oct 08 |  Welsh


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