New Zealand v Wales: Justin Marshall praises new style

By Owen RawlingsBBC Wales Sport in Wellington, New Zealand
Justin Marshall
Justin Marshall won the last of his 81 New Zealand caps against the British and Irish Lions in 2005
New Zealand v Wales (third Test)
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin Date: Saturday, 25 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.

Former New Zealand captain and ex-Ospreys scrum-half Justin Marshall says Wales' style of play against the world champions has been a revelation.

Wales, beaten 36-22 in Wellington, have adopted a more expansive approach as they try to evolve their game.

But the All Blacks have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series going into Saturday's final game in Dunedin.

"They can take a lot of heart from both performances. I thought they were super impressive," said Kiwi great Marshall.

"What I have liked is the intent Wales have to play from all areas of the field, which to me is a revelation - because usually they're quite happy to kick out of their own zone.

"Now they have more balance in their attack. If they find an opportunity, they're happy to shift the ball.

"But what has been the most impressive out of both weeks for me has been how clinical they've been."

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 came in for criticism for their style of play during the 2016 Six Nations, but Warren Gatland's side have added more variety to their game down under and have scored five tries in their two Test defeats.

They led the first Test after an hour in Auckland after tries from Taulupe Faletau and Rhys Webb, only for Steve Hansen's side to score 21 unanswered points on their way to a 39-21 victory.

In Wellington, the visitors finished on a high with Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies scoring late on.

But Wales have now lost 28 consecutive matches against the All Blacks, with their last win coming in 1953.

Marshall, who won what was then the Magners League while with Ospreys from 2006 to 2008, says it will "take time" for Wales to change their approach.

Liam Williams scored Wales' penultimate try against New Zealand in Wellington
Liam Williams scored Wales' penultimate try against New Zealand in Wellington

"It's recognition from the players that they don't always have to be robots," he said.

"It won't happen straightaway because it's a change of mindset and players then have to get their heads around that they all of a sudden become ball players and wingers, even though they've got small numbers on their back.

"That just takes a bit of confidence to know they can break open the best team in the world, score tries against them regularly and that what they're doing is actually working.

"It's not easy to try and change your game plan against a side that knows how to win."

More from BBC Wales Sport
Euro 2016: Russia 0-3 Wales highlights
Euro 2016: Gareth Bale says Wales win over Russia was their 'best performance'
New Zealand v Wales: Jamie Roberts hopes to be available

Marshall feels Wales have one more big performance in them as they look to avoid a tour whitewash, but warns they must concentrate for the whole game.

"It's just about maintaining decent levels of performance and pressure in the entirety of 80 minutes," he said.

"The drop offs are what is killing them at the moment. It's a 15-minute lapse in both games, really, where the game has got away from them.

"It is certainly the All Blacks cranking it up a gear... and after [scoring] points, Wales probably not re-focusing.

"They've got to turn their good performances, their good energy and their position into points and into wins. That's the next step.

"They will be competitive and they must be encouraged they can compete against the All Blacks and that puts them in a position to win, if mentally they toughen up a bit."

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC