Jenkins puffs up magic dragons

Gareth Jenkins will remind Wales in a typically passionate speech shortly before kick-off that they have an opportunity to go down in history with a victory over New Zealand on Saturday. [more]

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Gareth Jenkins will remind Wales in a typically passionate speech shortly before kick-off that they have an opportunity to go down in history with a victory over New Zealand on Saturday.

It is 53 years since Wales last beat the All Blacks, and the tourists arrive in Cardiff having dispatched England at Twickenham before back-to-back victories over France.

But Jenkins has spent the last month preparing his troops and fine-tuning his selections specifically for this match.

And he will rouse his players before the game with an emotional address, emphasising the opportunity that awaits them.

He said: "We have had three weeks coaching time and preparation. There is an assured self-belief in this group that on our day we are capable of winning.

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"My view this autumn was to grow the squad’s self belief and identity.

"The coaching process has to be the brunt of how you build your team. Then you have the emotional process.

"There is a moment where you galvanise the responsibility and you create that focus and that switch has to go on.

"We’ll have a 20-minute conversation. The way I coach, the technical process is very important but we have to have emotional processes as well.

"History is beckoning. Technically we are professional coaches but emotionally is what makes the difference."

Jenkins’ process this last month, which earned a 29-29 draw with Australia and victories over the Pacific Islands and Canada, has left the Wales squad convinced to a man they can end the autumn campaign with that historic victory over the All Blacks.

Full-back Kevin Morgan said: "Victory is definitely attainable. They are obviously the best side in the world and it’s a big ask, but we’ve got the capability.

"We’ll probably have to play better but you have got to go out there and believe you can win.

"Every team has got weaknesses and flaws, the All Blacks haven’t got as many as the rest but they are beatable like everyone else.

"We’ve got to play as well as we can, and if we do there’s no reason why we can’t win it."

But to do so, Morgan is convinced Wales will need to fight fire with fire and take the attack to New Zealand.

France failed to and were hammered 47-3 in Lyon before putting up a sterner fight in Paris last weekend.

Morgan said: "You can’t play against New Zealand and hope to restrict them with negative rugby because they are going to score tries.

"I was surprised that France didn’t play more rugby. You have just got to attempt to score more tries than them, that is the way it is.

"We will be looking to spread the ball and hopefully we can show them what we can do."

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