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Wales star denies record home loss has dented confidence

By PA
Press Association

Tomos Williams insists Wales’ confidence has not been dented despite an alarming and deflating defeat against New Zealand.

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While Wales’ 33rd successive loss to the All Blacks surprised no-one, the manner of their 55-23 reversal certainly did.

It was the most points Wales have conceded against any opponent during 138 years of international rugby in Cardiff.

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They also leaked eight tries, missed a total of 25 tackles and were dismantled at will by New Zealand most times the All Blacks entered Wales’ 22.

Wales have now lost six of their nine Tests against Rugby Championship teams under head coach Wayne Pivac, whose overall record since he succeeded Warren Gatland shows barely a 40 per cent success rate.

New Zealand led 17-0 after 19 minutes and Wales did not recover, prompting far more questions than answers only 308 days before their World Cup opener against Fiji in Bordeaux.

“The start of the game didn’t help,” scrum-half Williams said.

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“You can’t start like that against New Zealand. We were always chasing the game from there.

“We got back into the game quite well but stuff like discipline – you cannot give them easy entries into your 22, they are too clinical.

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“I think they took pretty much every chance they had, and against New Zealand you have to score tries.”

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Argentina, emphatic 33-11 victors over Wales on their last Cardiff visit 16 months ago, are next up for Pivac’s team in the Autumn Nations Series, followed by Georgia and Australia.

And a loss to the Pumas would inevitably ramp up pressure on Pivac, with Wales’ 2021 Six Nations title triumph under his direction now a distant memory.

Williams added: “They (Argentina) beat New Zealand in the summer and are a very good, very passionate team.

“You have to front up against Argentina. Hopefully, we will be there for that one.”

Asked if the New Zealand demolition might dent confidence, Williams said: “No. New Zealand are a class team. We were confident we could have beaten them, but it wasn’t to be.”

Wales will monitor flanker Tommy Reffel’s fitness ahead of the Argentina encounter after he took a blow to the ribs, while Pivac believes wing Alex Cuthbert will be back in contention following a shoulder injury.

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“There were a lot of good individual performances but collectively as a group, we needed to be more physical and come off the line,” Pivac said.

“At the end of the day, we were beaten by a better side, particularly in the areas that forwards pride themselves on. It is something we will work hard on.

“Our players know if you give them (New Zealand) time and space, they are dangerous against anyone.

“That is how it turned out. We knew what we needed to do, but we weren’t able to execute.”

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