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Wales can beat Wallabies - Henry

WALES v AUSTRALIA
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 29 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Watch live on BBC One Wales & online, listen to live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports and live text commentary online
New Zealand coach Graham Henry
New Zealand coach Graham Henry was impressed with Wales' performance

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has tipped Wales to beat Australia in Cardiff next weekend.

Wales led the All Blacks at half-time on Saturday before Henry's side let rip in the second half to win 29-9.

But Henry, who coached Wales from 1998 to 2002, says Warren Gatland's current crop can claim the scalp of the Kiwis' Tri-Nations rivals Australia.

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

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

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

Rugby is about playing for 80 minutes and we are not there at the moment

Wales full-back Lee Byrne
Although the final scoreline in the Millennium Stadium seemed comfortable, the All Blacks were forced to dig deeper against Wales than in their previous two tour matches against Ireland and Scotland.

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

But their first-half performance against the All Blacks and the way they finished in the 20-15 loss to South Africa a fortnight ago suggest another win against the Wallabies is realistic.

Wales full-back Lee Byrne, who was outstanding in a losing cause against the All Blacks, has urged his team-mates to claim a southern hemisphere scalp.

"Playing quite well is not good enough - we can't be the nearly men all the time," Byrne said.

"I am not happy when the team loses. I thought we were the better side in the first half, but they were more clinical than us after that.

"That was probably the best 40 minutes they've faced on this tour, and we will take away something from that.

"But it is still not good enough - we want to be an 80-minute team.

"Rugby is about playing for 80 minutes and we are not there at the moment."

Byrne also backed Wales' pre-match response to the haka, where the home side stared down New Zealand's traditional war dance challenge from 10 yards away.

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"It really got us going - we came out all guns blazing," Byrne added. "It was something different, but it seemed to work."

Wales' reaction to the haka gained approval from the All Blacks players.

"I thought it was very respectful - a great way to face the haka," said All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu.

"The Wales boys stood proud and it set the mood for the start of the game. There was nothing given or taken."

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw also approved: "There was a fair bit of feeling from both teams, and I thought it was good.

"It really showed that both teams wanted to play. The intensity of the start of the game showed that.

"Perhaps they got on top of us for a little early on."

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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
Wallaby wonders: Aussie rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Australia: Full record
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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