Wales coach Warren Gatland says his side needs to stay alert for the full 80 minutes if they are to have any hope in Saturday’s dead-rubber third Test against the All Blacks.
Wales led the world champions in the first Test at Eden Park and went into the break level in Wellington, only to falter in the second half in both tests.
Gatland told reporters on Thursday his players had grown accustomed to the All Blacks’ pace over the series and would make an even better account of themselves in Dunedin.
Cutting out needless errors would be key.
“We’ve just seemed to switch off for five or 10 minutes and it’s been hugely costly for us so we’ve just got to make sure we’re accurate for that whole period,” Gatland said.
“They felt after the second Test they were a lot more comfortable with the pace and intensity, and learned from that and felt they got better, so we hope there’s an improvement.
“We’ve just got to turn those numbers into pressure and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Gatland has made two changes to his run-on 15, with props Rob Evans and Tomas Francis promoted from the bench in place of Samson Lee and the injured Gethin Jenkins.
Inside centre Jamie Roberts has been retained despite suffering a head knock in the second Test, while Aaron Jarvis and Jake Ball have been called up for bench cover.
The Kiwi-born coach said the changes gave Francis the chance to shine on the big stage.
He also said he’d look to inject energy from the bench earlier to prevent an All Blacks’ second half pile-on.
“We just think it’s an opportunity for him to start. Samson didn’t take a huge part in training yesterday, he got a bit of a stinger on his shoulder” Gatland said.
Hooker Ken Owens echoed his coach’s remarks, saying the squad was well rested after taking time off during the week to recuperate.
Fighting through second half fatigue could push the side to victory.
“We’ve come down here with an expectation of winning, we’ve put in a lot of hard work in the last couple of years and we’re a confident side,” the 29-year-old Owens said.
“We’ve got another opportunity there to take it to them and hopefully tidy up some of our errors and have a go at them again.”
Meanwhile, flanker Sam Warburton will become the 10th player in rugby history to play 50 test matches as captain.
He has led Wales 47 times and the British and Irish Lions twice.
Wales: Rhys Patchell, Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Taulupe Faletau, Sam Warburton (capt), Ross Moriarty, Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Rob Evans. Reserves: Scott Baldwin, Aaron Jarvis, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Ellis Jenkins, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Scott Williams.