Neil Jenkins has given short shrift to the critics prepared to write off New Zealand following their Tri-Nations disappointments this year. The All Blacks suffered three defeats – all against the world champions South Africa – during the southern hemisphere's showpiece competition.
They will arrive at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday protecting a 56-year unbeaten record against Wales, a run of 20 successive Test match victories. But many commentators believe Wales might never have a better chance than this weekend to end that dismal sequence.
New Zealand are without the wing Sitiveni Sivivatu and the prop Tony Woodcock after both were suspended for foul play during last Saturday's victory over Australia in Japan. Their star fly-half Dan Carter, meanwhile, is by no means certain to recover in time from a calf haematoma.
Jenkins, Wales' skills coach and kicking specialist, is nonetheless prepared for another ferocious examination from New Zealand, mindful that a year ago in Cardiff Wales led 9-6 at half-time then lost the second-half 23-0. "It is a huge challenge for us," Jenkins said . "We played some great rugby against New Zealand last year, certainly in the first half, but it is about 80 minutes against the All Blacks.
"Is there ever a good time to play the All Blacks?," he added. "When they are under pressure, they seem to come out the other end with a bit more about them. When they don't do well or win trophies, people ask questions, but they have great players."
Neil Jenkins said that New Zealand remain a potent threat despite their recent Tri-Nations setbacksReuse content