Sam Warburton: Wales proved point against New Zealand in Wellington defeat

By Owen RawlingsBBC Wales Sport in Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealand v Wales: Warburton rues tourists' mistakes
New Zealand v Wales (third Test)
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin Date: Saturday, 18 June 2016 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.

Captain Sam Warburton says Wales' performance in the 36-22 defeat by New Zealand shows his side can compete for a whole game against the All Blacks.

The world champions' win in Wellington means they have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

New Zealand ran in four second-half tries, but Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies scored in a late Welsh flurry.

"I was pleased we kept going until the end, I think it showed that we can play for 80 minutes," said Warburton.

"It's just they are ruthless when you make a mistake."

New Zealand took the game away from Wales in 14 second-half minutes with Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Waisake Naholo and Ardie Savea all crossing to score.

Wales' summer fixtures:
11 June: New Zealand 39-21 Wales (Auckland)
14 June: Chiefs 40-7 Wales (Hamilton)
18 June: New Zealand 36-22 Wales (Wellington)
25 June: New Zealand (Dunedin)

Wales had led the first Test after an hour in Auckland only for Steve Hansen's side to score 21 unanswered points on their way to a 39-21 victory.

Warburton had said before Saturday's game that Wales had a physical barrier to overcome against the All Blacks and admitted that keeping up with the pace of the game over 80 minutes was a significant challenge.

He said New Zealand were able to think more clearly in the final 10 minutes because they were used to playing at such a high tempo.

But in Wellington, it was Warren Gatland's side who finished on a high with Williams and Davies scoring late on to ensure Wales only lost by 14 points - the narrowest losing margin they have ever achieved against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Wales hooker Ken Owens commented: "We finished strongly which we didn't do last weekend, which we're pretty proud of."

"One thing we spoke about behind the posts was not to go into our shells and just keep playing, keep plugging away and we got two tries in the end. I thought we played some decent stuff out there."

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Warburton, though, says Wales' late rally was no consolation as their losing streak against the All Blacks stretched to 28 games, with their last win coming in 1953.

"We wanted to win that match and there was a great feeling at half-time, we physically felt good," he said.

"But one or two or three mistakes gives three tries. There was that three-minute period where we gave away two tries and that was a huge swing and they really grew after that.

"There's no psychological barrier to get over, it's just they're a damn good team and you've got to take your hat off to them.

"When they had to score tries and capitalise on our mistakes, they did. They don't punish you with three points, it's normally seven."

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen (L) talks with Wales captain Sam Warburton (R) after the game in Wellington
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen (L) talks with Wales captain Sam Warburton (R) after the game in Wellington

Wales face Hansen's side again in Dunedin on Saturday, 25 June and the New Zealand coach says his side will be better again next weekend after a powerful performance in Wellington.

"It's only the second game of the season so you would [still] expect a lot of improvement," he said.

"Whilst we improved, I think the Welsh team did as well.

"We scored five good tries and anytime you do that in a Test match you've got to be reasonably happy with your attack play and we defended really, really well for long periods of time."