No one is giving Wales much of a hope of beating the All Blacks so I thought we should crowd source some help for Gatland. During this week’s #RugbyChat I asked the Twitterverse for help.
Some of the responses weren’t very helpful.
But after while of racking our brains we came up with some pointers.
1: New Centre Combination
With Nonu and Smith retiring and SBW away with the 7s team the All Blacks will be fielding a much less experienced centre pairing. Crotty has 15 caps and Fekitoa just 13. Comparing that to Roberts on 80 and Davies on 53 there’s a gulf in experience. It will be no surprise if the ball is sent down these channels and towards the All Blacks 10 as well. It’s going to be a good test for these 2 relatively new All Blacks but they are both very capable players at Super Rugby level.
2: The Set Piece
The All Blacks scrum is solid but not dominant as players are picked for their all-round skills including ball handling and work in the loose. Hansen has talked about the legality of mauls in the past and that’s always a sign that they are struggling in an area. So if Wales can get their lineout working then the maul could be a useful weapon. Unfortunately that is an if as their lineout has stuttered in the past.
3: Goal Kicking
In Bigger Wales have one of the best goal kickers in World Rugby even if he does have a funny dance as part of his routine. Cruden and Barrett’s kicking this season has been hot and cold. It’s not been helped by Cruden carrying an injury into the Super Rugby season that meant he handed the kicking duties over to McKenzie. This though relies on keeping the All Blacks from scoring to many tries.
4: Northern Hemisphere Referees
With Norther Hemisphere referees the Welsh should be used to how they call different situations. The All Blacks will have to quickly adapt from how Super Rugby refs call the game especially as the new laws introduced into Super Rugby won’t be applied in these games. The All Blacks and especially Richie have been good at adapting and maybe this is the area that Richie will be missed the most.
5: Start The Game Whilst The All Blacks Are Still Doing The Haka
We really were grasping at straws towards the end but if they can get the ref to allow them to kickoff during the Haka then maybe they could get a few points ahead. Would they be able to hold that lead of the rest of the 75 or so minutes of the game is another matter.
The All Blacks are an extremely good all round side and it’s going to take a monumental effort by the Welsh to compete in this series. I’m still looking forward to watching the game at Eden Park this weekend, follow me on Twitter for video and text updates.
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