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Toughest tour ever - Barry John

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    05 Jun 2016     Getty Images

Writing on walesonline.co.uk, John said 'the mental and physical toughness needed to take on the All Blacks is unrivalled'.

There had been longer tours with more games but three Tests on successive weekends would require a herculean effort, he said.

After Wales' loss to England in their pre-tour warm-up game John said Wales looked tired and exhausted.

Coach Warren Gatland's preparation for the first Test would be vital in attempting to cope with New Zealand.

"The last thing they need is hard, physical training sessions," he said.

"So many things have to go Wales' way and it is almost impossible to see how they can cope with the non-stop power, pace and skilful rugby the New Zealanders have in abundance."

John said before the All Blacks' opening game at the 2015 Rugby World Cup he got to his seat early in order to watch the preparation of both the All Blacks and Argentina.

"To see the All Blacks one to 23 intermingling with pop passes, everything done at pace through muscle and mind was an amazing sight," he said.

John said the players Wales would have to be most wary of were Aaron and Ben Smith. They were the catalysts in the New Zealand team.

Aaron Smith was so quick and his understanding of his first five-eighths and others around him was superb, he said.

"I feel Wales will not only have to play out of their skin, but their judgment, pass, kick and angle needs to be perfect against formidable opposition.

"New Zealand's kicking game has a purpose as does an All Blacks pass, and when the Kiwis put in a distance kick their line of defence is rock solid," he said.

By comparison Wales' kicking game appeared to give the opposition yardage and space to work in.

"Once the All Blacks kick deep they compete high up the field to create something," he said.

If nothing else the tour would provide younger Welsh players with a great learning experience because New Zealand was the Mecca of the game.

"It's an amazing set-up and the young players, who will get a taste of New Zealand rugby for the first time, will come home shaking their head in disbelief. This is being in the true hotbed of a special rugby place and this is why they are world champions.

"The standard they set themselves is unreal and that will get into the Welsh blood when they come back and get some rest, because believe me they'll need it after a three-Test series with the All Blacks," he said.