NZ barrier physical not mental

Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton started for Wales in the 40-7 defeat by the Chiefs on Tuesday

Captain Sam Warburton insists there is no mental barrier for Wales to overcome against world champions New Zealand and says the challenge is purely physical.

Wales have lost 27 games in a row to the All Blacks since winning in 1953.

They led after an hour in the first Test at Eden Park before conceding 21 unanswered points to go down 39-21.

“Most of the tries we concede are probably because somebody is under extreme fatigue and they’ve just made a poor decision,” said flanker Warburton.

Wales, looking for a first win over New Zealand on Kiwi soil, take on Steve Hansen’s side in Wellington on Saturday, before ending their tour in Dunedin on 25 June.

Warburton says the pace of games against the All Blacks means players are covering more metres than they are used to, which is leading to tiredness and bad decisions late in the game.

He commented: “I don’t think it’s a mental challenge at all. It’s being able to last that 80 minutes.

“There is no mental hurdle for me to personally get over. It’s just 15 guys in a cotton jersey – whoever I’m playing against, that’s how I perceive it.

“I don’t think anybody has got some special powers that we don’t have.

“No-one perceives it like that. I think it’s just purely the physical challenge.”

Wales have pushed the All Blacks hard on a number of occasions in recent years, before fading away in the final quarter.

The last time the two sides met in Cardiff in 2014, Warren Gatland’s men had a one-point lead with 11 minutes left, but New Zealand’s late surge brought a 34-16 win.

“It’s been pretty similar the last few times we’ve played them,” said Warburton.

“When we go past 70 minutes you start to go into territory which you’re not quite used to back home.

“Those guys obviously can think a little bit more clearly because they are used to playing at that tempo.

“For us guys, when you get to 70 minutes that’s normally the amount of kilometres you’ll cover in an 80-minute match.

“So the more you play like this, the more you get used to that at the end of the game, you get used to that fatigue – you’re going to make better decisions and ultimately, hopefully close out the game.”

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