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Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Saturday, 27 November 2010

Wales point fingers at themselves - boss Warren Gatland

Sam Whitelock tangles with Mike Phillips
Sam Whitelock tangles with Mike Phillips in New Zealand's 38-25 win

Wales' players will point fingers at each other over the costly errors that helped them lose once more to New Zealand says boss Warren Gatland.

The says new skipper Matthew Rees "spoke brilliantly" about doing that in the wake of Saturday's 25-37 defeat.

That was the 24th straight Wales loss to the All Blacks since 1953.

Gatland said: "Matthew Rees spoke brilliantly in the changing room afterwards in terms of pointing the finger at each other."

Wales' Kiwi coach said the All Blacks were relentless in pursuit of victory despite coming under huge pressure at times.

He said: "We got back into the game after conceding what we felt was a soft try very early on.

"At 13-12 we thought there were a couple of signs there that the All looked like the All Blacks were panicking, that they were under a bit of pressure and we didn't quite capitalise on that.

"That's why they're number one in the world - they're just relentless, aren't they? They just keep coming at you and if they get an opportunity they take it.

Wales coach Warren Gatland
Gatland says Wales must keep playing teams such as New Zealand

"What we need to be a bit more clinical at - James Hook's gone very close in the first-half, could have scored - they tend to take those chances.

"I thought Matthew Rees spoke brilliantly in the changing room afterwards in terms of pointing the finger at each other, being harder on ourselves and making sure that we keep improving as individuals.

"Competing at the very highest level you've got to work hard to try and eliminate some of the costly mistakes that are being costly for us, whether it's a bit of skill level or a little bit of accuracy or just a little bit of concentration.

"Those are things that top teams really work hard on trying to diminish in terms of how costly it is for you.

"I'm disappointed but proud of the effort we put in. We were at 13-12 when they were down to 14 men and couldn't quite capitalise on that.

"We kept playing an even at half-time we said we were disappointed with the way we played in the first-half.

"We probably lost a bit of composure, but we came out and started well in the first-half and put the All Blacks under some pressure.

"Four of their tries were from kick receptions so that's an area I think playing the All Blacks we need to work on in the future - either get your line right or on a few occasions we needed to get the ball off the park and put their line-out under pressure, which we did do at times.

"There were a few occasions when we needed to improve in that area.

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"We just felt that if we got back into the game we'd have a chance to score perhaps at the end - we did score right at the end, but we were too many points away."

Gatland's comments came eight days after he sparked controversy by highlighting players' failings in the wake of their 16-16 draw with Fiji and announced hooker Rees would lead Wales against New Zealand ahead of back-rower Ryan Jones.

Defeat to New Zealand means Wales have now failed to win any of their last seven Test encounters.

That has included three defeats by the All Blacks, two by South Africa and one by Australia as well as the embarrassing draw with Fiji.

But Gatland says Wales must continue to welcome such a tough itinerary if they are to become one of world rugby's leading sides.

He said: "One of the things we've done as a side is that we want to play these teams as much as we can and the only way you test yourself and improve is if you play the All Blacks as often as you can as well as South Africa and Australia and that's what we've tried to do.

"We did that in the summer, again [we've had] another hard autumn series, but I think we will have learned a huge amount from that.

"Hopefully the players have. We've got to look forward to the Six Nations, look forward to the preparation for the World Cup and that's our goal - to keep improving as a side."



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