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Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 18:57 GMT
What lessons can Wales learn?
Wales put on a spirited performance but go down 43-17 against the All Blacks in Cardiff.
Are you happy with the team's progress?
This debate is now closed.
Wales went into the autumn series finale against the All Blacks having won three Tests in a row.
And coach Steve Hansen made just one change to the side that produced the results against Canada.
However, on the day the All Blacks showed their superiority and proved why many are tipping them for next year's World Cup.
But Hansen will feel that many positives can be taken from his teams' display.
Has pride been restored to Welsh rugby?
It was heartening to see Wales play with passion, determination and even some structure during the third quarter of the match.
But to compete with the very best we still need more patience, control and - especially - fitness. What could have almost been a famous victory was turned into a heavy defeat by the All Blacks' superior conditioning right at the end.
It won't happen just yet, but if the boys can become as fit as the likes of NZ, England and France, we could well be back where we belong in a couple of years.
Wales have the talent. They have the players. They always have done. The problem is their fitness almost always lets them down. The New Zealanders and Australians got the jump over the north because they were big, fast, and very fit. Nothing more.
Wales showed some promise in the forwards - some good scrummaging and turnovers. But the team overall lacked the skill, imagination, speed and power to penetrate the AB's defence. The AB's lightning-quick passing was a joy to watch.
One thing that is clear after yesterday is the potential of the forwards. With the World Cup being held on the hot, dry fields of Australia our forwards hold the key for producing a respectable World Cup.
Anything other than a slow, patient, forward orientated game would be disastrous as it would expose our poor fitness levels when pitted against the fast and extremely fit sides of Australia, England, France and NZ.
I totaly agree with Chris, Iestyn Harris should be on from the start. He may not be the tactical kicker that Stephen Jones is, but with the ball in hand he is able to open up a defence and his passing is excellent.
He needs to be in the side for the Six Nations to build experience and for the other backs to start being in position to run onto his passes instead of thinking once they have the ball. We need an attacking option and Harris is it.
I totally agree about Iestyn Harris. He looked a real threat...because he knows how to unlock first rate defences from his "league" days. It's a shame the rest of the back line doesn't have the same nous and vision as Iestyn. The team should be built around him.
Wales can take a lot from this game, for 80 minutes they were looking OK, it's just at the end the heads dropped and NZ showed their power.
The one thing that was made clear was Iestyn Harris can make a huge difference to the way the backs play. I know people are not happy with the way he has played since he "came home" but you have to play him to give Wales a more attacking chance.
That little burst he showed towards the end, he looked like a player from New Zealand or Australia. Play him, let him make mistakes, but watch him pull our backs up the field.
What can we learn? That fourth-rate administrators of a third-rate structure produce a second-rate national side which will always lose to first-class reserves.
Wales were very poor, they didn't know what to do when they got the ball. They may have some heart but they don't have much skill.
Perhaps they were lucky that the ABs didn't do the basics well and it is at the end of a very long season that the score wasn't bigger!
These are the best 15 rugby players we can presently put on the field and I for one am proud of their efforts today. As a rugby supporter I am also very proud of our soccer team, snooker players, darts throwers and anyone else who pulls on the Welsh jersey. Ymlaen pob Cymro.
A far better performance than I predicted by Wales. After soaking up so much pressure exerted by the All Blacks the difference amounted to slicker passing, more creative thought, faster ball from scrum and maul from a well drilled All Black team.
The Welsh team in the closing stages were unable to take the chances they created due to a combination of desperation, tiredness and inability to make the final move count.
When are people going to stop congratulating wales on losing? Every time we lose people say we have made a step forward...so how come we keep losing? The whole of Welsh rugby needs to take a long hard look at itself and adjust.
Don't be discouraged Wales. The ticker is there, turn your scrummaging power into all-round forward play and mobility, endurance and discipline must come next. Well done ABs...time for the beach, barbies and a few beers.
Pride has been restored, but patience is the key. Wales seem agitated after the third or fourth phase whereas the top nations play phase after phase until an opening appears.
Wales gave the ball away for the 'forward pass' try through a loose Jones kick and late on let New Zealand get a slightly flattering result. A better performance for 85 of the 93 minutes played though.
Welsh, keep your heads up. You've been major threat in the past and even up to the last World Cup. Like Rys said, it could have been a narrow loss with a dubious try decision. ALL BLACKS 2003!
We just haven't got what it takes to be world-class, have we? The players gave their all and can't be faulted for that, but we have to accept that we will never compete at the very top.
I'm happy that Wales were competitive with NZ for 88 minutes of play and especially the last 20 of normal time. I'm not happy they allowed NZ to score three tries right at the end in extra time.
This is more a problem of attitude that fitness. Losing to SA in extra time a few years ago was similar. Wales need to learn not to give up. NZ don't and they turned a narrow win into a thrashing in just a few minutes.
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