Struggling Wales clear the air
November 24, 2010
Stephen Jones believes that Wales can 'put things right' on Saturday © Getty Images
Wales skipper Matthew Rees has overseen a frank players meeting as they look to get their house in order prior to Saturday's showdown with the All Blacks.
Rees was rested for last weekend's acrimonious draw with Fiji, with Ryan Jones taking the armband and bearing the brunt of a public rebuke from the coaching staff after conceding the late penalty that levelled the scores.
Wales have not beaten New Zealand since 1953 and given the ominous form shown by the tourists, who are in search of a third Grand Slam since 2005, they appear unlikely to end their recent run of six Tests without victory.
Nevertheless veteran fly-half Stephen Jones believes that their 'open and honest' meeting has paved the way for an improved performance.
"Fiji was hugely disappointing, and we know we can play better," he said. "We have been open and honest, and we know that we didn't perform to the standard we would have liked. We have tried to wrestle with issues this week and have to make sure we put things right on Saturday.
"We have belief in our ability, but when you do not perform as a team there will be criticism. Every time you put the Wales jersey on there is a massive responsibility. People are entitled to criticise us.
"The players' meeting was open and honest and about how we can move forward and prepare best. It was good. We are in a competitive environment and we want to get the best out of each other. Players often meet to discuss the way forward, especially ahead of such a big game."
Wales boss Warren Gatland is set to name his side on Thursday, with Cardiff Blues duo Gethin Jenkins and Sam Warburton in the mix to make surprise returns from calf problems. Wasps No.8 Andy Powell is also in contention for a starting berth after groin trouble, although Blues lock Deiniol Jones is out with a fractured cheekbone.
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