Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: No gap in the All Blacks midfield - Wales

Jonathan Davies. Photo / Getty
Jonathan Davies. Photo / Getty

There has been no rush for Wales. They arrived with plenty of time to get over jetlag and run some routine towards their target of upsetting the All Blacks.

Centre Jonathan Davies has eased back into the group after playing for Clermont in Europe and missing the hit out against England at Twickenham. He brings the experience of 56 tests to put alongside Jamie Roberts who carries 83 caps into the midfield battle where the tourists have some advantages.

They will likely confront Ryan Crotty (15 caps) and Malakai Fekitoa (13 caps) who will begin the task of settling into the roles that Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith held for so long.

"When you look at the two squads our midfield has a lot of experience," Davies said.

"But the players involved (All Blacks) have been involved in winning World Cups as well. If you look at caps we do win that battle but it is going to be a squad effort and we have got to work hard together and it's going to be a tough task for us but we are very confident.

"We are a settled team and obviously the boys who played against England will be much better for the hit-out. That should help us going into the first Test."

Davies has bypassed the Top 14 playoffs to tour with Wales as they search for the victory against the All Blacks which has eluded them since 1953.

"They have been the best team for a number of years now and when you go up against them you want to try and beat the best. We have an opportunity, we have three tests to beat them and if we can win them that's something I'm sure the boys will never forget," he said.

If Wales won at Eden Park on Saturday, they would not be content to ogle at that piece of rugby history. They had not won a test in the southern hemisphere for such a long time so winning in New Zealand would be huge for the squad.

"But we want to win the test series, that's what we have come down here for."

It suited Wales to be underdogs and operate in a siege mentality.

When Davies, 28, played against Nonu and Smith he admitted he was initially star-struck about that challenge. He was still playing against them a few weeks ago in Europe.

"You grow up watching them and trying to emulate them and see why they are so good and try to get to those levels. Growing up the All Blacks were always the team you wanted to play against and face the haka and all that. It's always an occasion and you thrive on it and try and enjoy it as best you can."

- NZ Herald

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