Warren Gatland has defended his decision to accept the match against the Chiefs only three days after the first test against the All Blacks, saying it was a risk worth taking in terms of developing his players.
Experienced test centre Jamie Roberts, a late call-up for the injured Gareth Anscombe, came off the reserves bench in Hamilton to attempt to stem the tide in the 40-7 loss, and yesterday called the defeat and performance "embarrassing".
But despite adding to skipper Sam Warburton's workload by starting him in the No 7 jersey - for which Gatland has been criticised in the media here and abroad - the New Zealander insisted the game at Waikato Stadium would help, rather than hinder, his side.
Gatland said: "Is it the best thing for them and the development of Welsh rugby in the future? Absolutely. Is it tough to take? Yes it's tough to take, but I think it's the right decision to make and you might fact a huge backlash for it, but as I say, it's the best for the players' development."
Gatland mantained a calm facade in the face of the grilling by the media, a conference which contrasted with Steve Hansen's relaxed affair held earlier, but he couldn't help but bite back at a couple of questions.
He answered, "No, why?" to the question by a New Zealand reporter of "Warren, is this the most pressure you've been under as Wales coach?", but responded when it was pointed out that he had lost two matches in quick succession which had resulted in the post mortems with: "Yeah, well that's the nature of the beast isn't it? Look, I said to you there were a lot of positives out of Saturday and we took a bashing after Tuesday. Was that the best rugby decision? Absolutely.
"Tuesday was about exposing players and the future for them and the development of the game. We know we were taking a risk doing that and you pay the price don't you."
Asked how openside flanker Warburton was feeling in preparing to start his third game in eight days after having not played for six weeks due to a shoulder injury, Gatland said: "He's pretty excited about it. I asked him how he was today and he said 'pretty good'.
"He knows that in the past he's been wrapped in cotton wool and he said he feels he has to front up. We're expecting a high-tempo game on Saturday and we have to make sure we're able to cope with that."
Gatland has replaced the injured wing George North with fullback Liam Williams, one of his best performers at Eden Park. Wearing the No 15 jersey is 23-year-old Rhys Patchell, who has played two tests.
The only other change sees lock Bradley Davies dropped to the bench and replaced by Luke Charteris, the team's captain in Hamilton on Tuesday.
Roberts, who tried but failed to make much of a dent in the Chiefs' defence, said: "It was quite an embarrassing defeat for us and an embarrassing performance.
"Coming off Tuesday, we owe the jersey a game there's no doubt about that. The lads who wore the jersey on Tuesday let the jersey down, really. Being part of that squad too, it wasn't good enough."