Gatland warns no margin for error

November 21, 2014 11:14:09 UK

Head coach Warren Gatland has said Wales will have to limit their mistakes or his team can expect to be punished by New Zealand on Saturday.

The Red Dragons have once again struggled in the November series, losing to Australia and only narrowly beating Fiji.

Gatland will therefore look for a significant improvement when his side take on the world’s number one team, and the Welsh boss has admitted his players need to be at their very best.

He said: “I’m expecting them to kick a lot. They’ve got a very strong kicking game and they look to put teams under pressure and create space by kicking teams around.

“The thing about them is that they’re pretty ruthless when they get the ball and they make the most out of nothing.

“Their vision, their scanning and their ability to score when it’s on, they do that well. We saw that against England when it looked like for two or three phases England were comfortable and all of a sudden the All Blacks come down on the shortside where they were short of numbers and they go away and score.

“They are clinical and we’ve got to be aware of that. We’ve got to match their intensity, their aggression and bring a performance in terms of going out to play.”

Wales have named a similar team to the one who faced the Wallabies two weeks ago and, although they considered starting Scarlets’ back Liam Williams, Gatland chose to select the tried and tested.

“Liam Williams came off last weekend with a bit of an ankle injury,” he added. “We wondered whether to start him but we went with [Leigh] Halfpenny, [George] North and [Alex] Cuthbert. From an experience point of view, it’s one of the most experienced teams we’ve put out and we’ve kept with that nine-10 combination that we thought did pretty well against Australia.”

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), George North (Northampton Saints), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Paul James (Bath), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (unattached), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), James Hook (Gloucester), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

New Zealand: Ben Smith; Charles Piutau, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Wyatt Crockett, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Jerome Kaino.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Joe Moody, Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Messam, TJ Perenara, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Wales are available to back in the 80 minutes market at 6.00 and New Zealand are priced 1.12 in the match betting.

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