Wales must repay Gatland's faith - NZ legend Ian Jones
AUTUMN INTERNATIONAL - WALES v NEW ZEALAND Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 November Kick-off: 1715 GMT Coverage: Watch on BBC TWO and the BBC Sport website; listen on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and Radio 5 Live; report and reaction on BBC Sport website and mobiles
New Zealand lock legend Ian Jones has told Wales' players to repay coach Warren Gatland's loyalty when they face the All Blacks on Saturday.
Wales received scathing criticism, including from Gatland and his coaches, after their 16-16 draw with Fiji.
Jones said: "Gatland's been loyal to them. Now it's their turn."
Wales fly-half great Jonathan Davies says they must out-think New Zealand to win and Cardiff Blues' Kiwi skipper Paul Tito says they have no chance.
Jones, Davies and Tito were speaking on Thursday's Scrum V Radio show that previewed the game.
Wales 'can attack NZ scrum'
Each of the trio offered a different take on Wales' plight going into their final autumn 2010 Test with Gatland's men having lost to Australia and South Africa before being held to a stalemate by the South Sea Islanders at the Millennium Stadium.
Jones, who played more than 70 games in the All Blacks' pack, said Wales' failed to earn "the right to go wide" against Fiji, in a display that could have led to even more changes than the 10 Gatland has made.
Wing George North, full-back Lee Byrne and tight-head prop Adam Jones remain the the roles the filled at the start of the clash with Fiji while Ryan Jones and Dan Lydiate remain in a reshuffled back-row.
Gatland rounded on Ryan Jones, who led Wales to the draw with Fiji, and the coach was then criticised for his own public outburst and decision to announce to the squad that hooker Matthew Rees would lead the team against the All Blacks in the post-match dressing room.
"The players, fair and square, will be disappointed [about] last week," said Ian Jones.
"Full respect to Fiji, but a draw at home against the Fijians shouldn't happen to Welsh rugby.
"So Warren Gatland's given a number of these guys an opportunity to state their claim.
"That doesn't doesn't always happen in international sport, but a lot of these guys could have been dropped and justly so from the performance we saw last Friday night [19 November] against the Fijians.
"They haven't been, Gatland's been loyal to them. Now it's their turn to step it up because no matter what happened on the pitch last weekend, none of that had anything to do with Warren Gatland.
"It had all to do with the guys out there making the decisions."
Ian Jones in the 2008 Port Of Tauranga Half Ironman Triathlon event
Ex-Wales skipper Davies took up that theme, citing Jones himself as the sort of player New Zealand rugby regularly produces as the standard Saturday's hosts must aspire to.
"They've got to get out of the blocks very quickly defensively," said Davies.
"But they've just got to think because I've always said the reason they've [the All Blacks] been the best side for, well, the majority of the years apart from World Cups, unfortunately, is the fact that they think.
"They look at the opposition and they're better thinkers individually and collectively they're better-thinking rugby players.
"I remember seeing Ian Jones scoring tries on the wing, Fitzy's [hooker Sean Fitzpatrick's] on the wing - they're all there, thinking footballers and we've got to match that."
Blues skipper Tito counts Wales match-squad members Tom Shanklin, Tom James, Sam Warburton, Gethin Jenkins, Bradley Davies, Richie Rees and Martyn Williams and among his team-mates.
The last three years, I feel that Wales have had a show [chance] and since then I think they've been going backwards
Cardiff Blues' Paul Tito
He says they are involved in a predictable game-plan that has seen Wales' performances gradually deteriorate.
Asked if he thought Wales had a chance of ending a 57-year losing run to New Zealand, Tito said: "No, I don't think they've got any show.
"The last three years, I feel that Wales have had a show and since then I think they've been going backwards.
"And I think in the last three games they've played a game plan that's very predictable and a lot of teams are getting stuck into them in the breakdown.
"They're sending too many players around the corner and a lot of players [are] in not much space and they're trying to give the ball to the backs and basically they haven't got enough numbers out there.
"So I've been disappointed in the way that they've played.
"I really want Wales to go well, but I don't think they're going to."
Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); George North (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Tom James (Blues); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Dragons), Sam Warburton (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys). Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Paul James (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Andy Powell (Wasps), Martyn Williams (Blues), Richie Rees (Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys).
New Zealand: M Muliaina (Chiefs); I Toeava (Blues), C Smith (Hurricanes), SB Williams (Crusaders), H Gear (Hurricanes); D Carter (Crusaders), J Cowan (Highlanders); T Woodcock (Blues), K Mealamu (Blues), O Franks (Crusaders), B Thorn (Crusaders), S Whitelock (Crusaders), J Kaino (Blues), R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), K Read (Crusaders). Replacements: A Hore (Hurricanes), J Afoa (Blues), A Boric (Blues), D Braid (Queensland Reds), A Ellis (Crusaders), S Donald (Chiefs), M Nonu (Hurricanes).
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.