New Zealand v Wales: Rob Howley wants 'siege mentality' against world champions

By Owen RawlingsBBC Wales Sport in Auckland, New Zealand
Rob Howley
Rob Howley only played against the All Blacks once as a Wales player, losing 42-7 at Wembley in 1997
New Zealand v Wales (first Test)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday, 11 June Kick-off: 08:35 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport app, Connected TV, and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Assistant coach Rob Howley says Wales are in New Zealand to make history as they aim to beat the world champions in their own country for the first time and end a 63-year winless streak.

Wales have lost 26 consecutive matches against the All Blacks, with their last win coming in 1953.

Warren Gatland's side play three Tests against New Zealand this month.

"We are here to try and change history and what's gone before us, that's our goal," said Howley.

Wales' summer fixtures:
11 June: New Zealand (Auckland)
14 June: Chiefs (Hamilton)
18 June: New Zealand (Wellington)
25 June: New Zealand (Dunedin)

New Zealand are unbeaten at Eden Park since 1994 and the match in Auckland will be the All Blacks' first since beating Australia 34-17 in the World Cup final.

The hosts are heavy favourites to win the Test series, but Howley says Wales must not let that concern them.

"There is something of a siege mentality which can benefit teams when you come over to the southern hemisphere," said Howley.

"History is against us, but we need to change history and by trying to create a siege mentality that might put us, hopefully at some time on Saturday, in a good space and putting the All Blacks under pressure on some occasions."

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Wales were widely regarded as Europe's strongest team at the 2015 World Cup where they reached the quarter-finals.

But they finished second behind a rejuvenated England in the 2016 Six Nations, and came in for criticism at home for the style of their play during that championship.

Howley says Wales are evolving their game and looking to add some variety to their play before meeting the All Blacks, a team the former scrum-half described as "relentless" in everything they do on the field.

"Skill set under pressure is vital in the modern game and we are continually working on it," he said. "It's about speed and mindset. It takes time, but it's something which we are very mindful of.

"Hopefully you will see not just glimpses of it on the weekend, but quite a lot of it."

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