Autumn Internationals 2012: Wales v New Zealand Prediction

Gatland

Forgive the clumsy allegory, but the build-up to this match feels as though Wales have taken the place of a heroine in an antiquated silent film, tied to train tracks in mortal peril. Ominously, the onrushing locomotive – New Zealand – has gathered irrepressible momentum throughout the past year, first snatching a long-awaited Webb Ellis trophy and then systematically dispatching all in their path.

In the past fortnight alone, victories over Scotland and Italy have showcased flashes of the All Blacks’ finest rugby – a simple, yet fantastically effective marriage of intelligent running lines and pristine handling. Wales, on the other hand, are stuck in a dreadful slump. Dismal losses to Argentina and Samoa each sent boos echoing around the Millennium Stadium and a spate of injuries – most recently to George North – have been disheartening.

Things can only get better. Well, they might if any other side was in Cardiff.

Reasons to back Wales

Sam Warburton’s rallying cry at the start of this week was honest and stirring. Rather than dodge the searching questions that his Grand Slam winners have raised following five straight defeats, the skipper fronted up. Back at openside, he has the chance to vindicate that by nullifying Richie McCaw and stifling the decorated tourists’ flow of quick ball. If ever there was a time for Warburton to re-locate his immense best, this it. Do that, and the playing field becomes more level.

From on-field inspirer to off-field director, Wales should be hugely buoyed by Warren Gatland’s return. Having spent the beginning of the autumn Tests on British and Irish Lions safari, the Kiwi will inject urgency, self-belief and structure – three facets palpably absent from Rob Howley’s hapless reign. At set-piece, performances from lock Luke Charteris and loosehead Paul James are especially essential.

Finally, the hosts have nothing to lose. As Ryan Jones rightly pointed out in the aftermath of Friday night’s debacle, this is rock bottom. Facing the premier team on the planet, Wales can enjoy the occasion and throw caution to the wind. The last time that psyche took hold was at the 2003 World Cup, when they briefly frightened New Zealand before eventually succumbing 53-37. These players are better than those who wore the red shirt nine years ago, too.

Reasons to back New Zealand

Dispelling any suggestion that he may go easy on his former employers, Steve Hansen has picked a seriously strong starting line-up. McCaw and Dan Carter – pending recovery from a “leg twinge” – head up an explosive arsenal of big guns. The presence of Sam Whitelock in the second row and Aaron Smith at scrum-half is definite evidence that the All Blacks mean business.

After shipping three tries at Murrayfield and being held by the determined Azzurri in Rome, New Zealand have not had it all their own way on this tour, though. This time, Hansen will not stand for such pronounced periods of relaxation. With that in mind, expect an eye-watering 80-minute onslaught.

There is one more niggling doubt for Wales that must be mentioned. Quite frankly, the All Blacks represent an entirely different proposition to any they have faced in the past 18 months. Australia were under strength during their trip Down Under this summer and the Six Nations was not a vintage tournament by any means. Even during the World Cup, close losses to South Africa and France were full of faults. If ever there was one, this is a time for heroes to step up. Only then can Wales derail Hansen’s train.

Prediction: Wales to restore pride in a brave loss, setting up redemption against the Wallabies. New Zealand by 9 

By Charlie Morgan — @CharlieFelix

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17 comments on “Autumn Internationals 2012: Wales v New Zealand Prediction

  1. New Zealand by 7 at least, I think Wales will be up for the game but won’t be able to stop the All Black juggernaut who will more than likely be bouyed by Wales’ previous results.

    Some hope may lie in the fitness of Dan Carter as if his replacement has anything of the kicking ability of Piri Weepu in The World Cup a few points could be dropped.

  2. NEW ZEALAND should be expected to win, well lets see what happens, The dragons dont come to the match expecting defeat, so i wont either

  3. I think New Zealand will win by more than that, with or without Carter. Haven’t seen anything that show the force Wales can be, and were a year ago.

  4. I think I called it NZ by 15. I know Scotland and Italy aren’t the biggest challenges, but I don’t think Wales are going to mount a strong challenge either.

  5. Im against the other commenters here today. Wales by 4-11points. Gatland is back, Warburton is raising the mood. This is going to be the World Cup Final that should of been, and wales are going to come out on top!

    • When will people like you ever learn in Wales, and stop talking bull. Just as i have been telling you guys for two years now this is an average Welsh team and have been truly found out this autumn. Ireland have better players all-round and are currently behind France in th 6 nts and ahead of England and Wales. Welsh supporters like you are delusional and are always living on past glories while in reality the pro game in wales is a shambles with the regions really struggling. Please stop this dream-land stuff and deal with realities please.

  6. I think Wales will lose but be competitive and should keep the scores close. I also think that the ABs might be a bit complacent and with their record they probably have a right to be.

  7. Competitive. Effort. Skill. I want to see all three of those from Wales so I can at least avoid total depression. Unfortunately I can’t see even our best being enough. NZ will march on to a NH grand slam.

    • No home nat slam for all blacks i’m afraid , you see their not playing ireland on this tour . Get facts right please.

      • Ok Johne, some facts. In these overrated two years Walea have 1 grand slam and 1 WC semi appearance. Both achieved by beating Ireland. The Irish constantly say they have better players but if true then what is their excuse for 1 slam in fifty years? You joke about Wales being overrated yet fail to see the irony in saying Ireland are better yet have won nowt. That is the very definition of overrated. When you play us next we will find out where we are relatively again, until then you’ll just have to live with the fact that we are grand slam champions.

  8. NZ by 20 plus – so strong in every position – wish we had the choice of players that NZ have on the bench for our first team, they are powerful, skillful, fast and clinical all the things Wales currently are not.

  9. brighty has it about right as for Clarky it must be nice to live in your own seperate parallel dimension .

    I hope we front up in which case a loss by 9 as predicted above will show that we have but thats about it .

  10. How worse can this Welsh side get. On these performances Wales are looking for a whitewash this 6 nations and they do not deserve anymore

  11. WELL I DID SAY IN MY LARGE POST THAT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN DELETED (THANKS FOR THAT)
    BUCH OF KIDS PLAYING MEN.
    HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU NOT TAKE THE POINTS AND MISS A TOUCH KICK BEOFRE THE SELECTORS REALISE YOUR A WASTE OF TURK SPACE?