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Wales to keep lid on hype

Sportal.co.nz     19 Nov 2006    

Fresh from a 61-26 hammering of Canada on Friday, Wales' captain Gareth Thomas call for care came as the Welsh side has its third attempt in three years to provide Wales with its first win over New Zealand since 1953.

However, Thomas has thrown an injury scare into the Welsh camp and may miss the match. He suffered a twisted knee and faces a scan on Monday to determine whether he will be fit to play.

Thomas told Reuters: "As a team we need to step away from what the nation are building it into.

"It's New Zealand who are the best in the world and there is no bigger challenge for a rugby player."

That is something Thomas is only too aware of as the result of previous experiences against the All Blacks and for the British and Irish Lions during their tour to New Zealand in 2005.

"We can't let ourselves get caught up in the hype and we have to treat this week like any other Test match that has gone by. This week will be a testing one and it's all about staying away from the hype."

That hype has been extended by a day for the Welsh as they played Canada a day ahead of New Zealand's second Test against France in Paris.

Wales does have some concerns before the match. Original captain Stephen Jones, who has a knee injury, and Gavin Henson, who withdrew from the Canada game due to a toe injury, must train on Monday or face exclusion from the game.

"It's all about us as a group, whatever the press and public make of the game this week will only heighten the product. But for us it's all about preparation, clarity and delivery.

"I think the difficulty is that New Zealand bring so much to the park and have so much strength.

"We have to concentrate on us and see how New Zealand react to how we want to play," he said.