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Coach Warren Gatland wants Welsh self-belief against NZ

TOUR MATCH: New Zealand v Wales
Venue: Carisbrook, Dunedin Date: Saturday, 19 June Start: 0835 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales MW & online, score updates online, live on Sky Sports 1


Wales coach Warren Gatland
Coach Warren Gatland says Wales can took to France's example down under

Coach Warren Gatland has told Wales to believe in themselves when face New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday.

Wales have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953 and have never beaten them away from home.

But Gatland points to France's success last year, saying: "You've got to come here and back yourself."

Wales have minor worries over lock Bradley Davies (knee) and wing Leigh Halfpenny (upset stomach) ahead of Thursday's team announcement.

They are also without rested British and Irish Lions Shane Williams and Martyn Williams as well as Gethin Jenkins and James Hook for the two-Test trip.

But Gatland says France shook off their injury problems and absences last summer to record a historic win on All Black soil.

France won 27-20 in Dunedin and lost 14-10 a week later in Wellington.

Even though in the last couple of years we've beaten Australia we've still been unable to have that chance of beating the All Blacks and South Africa

Wales coach Warren Gatland

Gatland said: "It wasn't until I left New Zealand that it dawned on me how difficult it is for any touring side to come here and give a performance and get a result.

"Perhaps the only country that's been able to do that - and they did that recently - and come with that air of confidence is France.

"You've got to come here and back yourself and have that belief and confidence that you can come down here and perform."

France took on an All Blacks side missing skipper Richie McCaw and fly-half Daniel Carter, but the duo are available to the All Blacks this time around.

But Gatland said: "I keep looking back last year at Carisbrook and what France did.

"They came down with a very weakened team and they would have been written off before that game was played.

"They won that first Test and probably should have won the second as well and they went away with the Dave Gallaher Trophy.

"You've got to keep looking at those occasions and hopefully the same may apply and happen to us."

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Wales can take heart from their last performance against Graham Henry's men in Cardiff last November, when a second-half Andrew Hore try sealed New Zealand's 19-12 win.

Kiwi Gatland believes playing the Tri-Nations teams regularly can only benefit his adopted nation.

He said: "South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have consistently been the best three teams in the world and it's challenging yourself against them.

"For us to get better as a team we need to play against the three best teams as much as we can.

"That's putting yourself under a bit of pressure because of expectations in terms of performance and results.

"But I believe the only way to get better is to challenge yourself against the best.

"Even though in the last couple of years we've beaten Australia we've still been unable to have that chance of beating the All Blacks and South Africa.

"That's why over the next couple of years we've got the opportunities of playing the best teams in the world.

"It does put you under pressure but I honestly believe that's the only way of getting better.

"I think it's an advantage knowing the venues and the people and my experiences of being in New Zealand.

"For a lot of the players they haven't been here before so it's a great opportunity and a great experience for a lot of them to enjoy."

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see also
NZ's 'hands off' message to Wales
14 Jun 10 |  Welsh
New Zealand 66-28 Ireland
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Gatland blasts lack of leadership
09 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Phillips determined before Tests
11 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Wales' NZ tour in photos
26 Jun 10 |  Welsh
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
Country profile: New Zealand
28 Nov 11 |  Country profiles
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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