Read expects Cardiff cracker
Tue, 20 Nov 2012 19:38
They will be a lot better across the board
All Black No.8 Kieran Read says Wales remain a top side and will provide a stern challenge in Cardiff on Saturday despite their recent form.
The teams are in contrasting positions, Wales having suffered back-to-back losses to Argentina and Samoa in their two opening November Tests while New Zealand recorded comfortable victories over Scotland and Italy.
However, Read, who captained the world champions in the 42-10 win in Rome last weekend, says the Six Nations Grand Slam champions are notoriously tough at the Millennium Stadium and says Saturday’s clash will be no different.
"Over here it has generally taken us a full 80 minutes to wear them down. I don't think we have ever had an easy game against Wales since I have been involved," he said.
"They are a tough side and really come at us physically, so it is always a really tough game against them.
"You look at a team like Wales and not too long ago they were dominating European rugby and no team goes backwards that quickly.”
Read believes the recent results will serve as motivation for the Welsh, with the return of coach Warren Gatland sure to provide an extra boost to the camp.
"They are still a quality side and we respect them for that, and any team with their backs against the wall will come out fighting, so we expect that on Saturday night, said Read.
"They will raise their game, they will be a lot better across the board. They won't be happy with where they are at and in that position you really dig your heels in and look to come out strong."
After resting several first-choice players last weekend, the All Blacks will revert to their strongest matchday side which is expected to include fullback Israel Dagg, who missed the meeting with the Azzurri after suffering a knock at Murrayfield.
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