Wales 16-34 New Zealand
Gatland says Wales must be patient
November 23, 2014
Wales 16-34 New Zealand (video available in Australia only)
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Coach Warren Gatland has put a personal slant on Wales' ongoing struggle to beat the All Blacks, recalling the day his old Waikato side finally toppled Auckland. Gatland was left to explain another brave but fruitless Welsh attempt at ending their 61-year drought against the All Blacks following a 34-16 loss on Saturday.

He believes the breakthrough isn't far off and will have major implications when it happens. Wales must keep chipping away patiently, Gatland said, just as Waikato did for five years before toppling provincial juggernaut Auckland in 1992 on the way to winning the ITM Cup . Gatland, the hooker in a strong Waikato side of that era, remembers how they beat Auckland again the following year to end a record 61-game Ranfurly Shield tenure.

"Every year it was getting a little bit closer and learning from those experiences," he said. "Once you'd done it once, it was easier the second time and the third time. If [Wales] get over that line, that's what will create that belief and that composure to finish a game off."

Wales also have a poor record under Gatland against South Africa and Australia.

The former All Black suggests fitness is an issue, citing Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship competitions as more intense than what most of his players are exposed to. Gatland says GPS measurement of top New Zealand players in games suggest they have a higher work rate than the average Welsh professional.

"Where they're used to playing at that intensity all the time, right at the very edge, sometimes our players are coming to us not quite with the same numbers," Gatland said. "We've got to replicate that at training, just to get them up to the level that they're going to expect to face against the southern hemisphere teams."

Gatland says more Tests against rugby's best teams is the only way to truly improve.

The All Blacks were just too good in the final minutes © Getty Images

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