Coach Warren Gatland used Wales’ biggest win in Six Nations history to reinforce his side’s hope of ending a 63-year losing streak to world champions New Zealand in June.
The Welsh secured runner-up status in the Six Nations after thumping Italy 67-14 for their biggest tournament win by total and margin.
They scored nine tries – some spectacular, some soft – against an injury-ravaged Italy who failed to win a match for the first time in seven years.
Feeble starts against Ireland and England cost Wales from vying for the title in the final round, but Gatland was rapt at how his players rebounded by making certain of victory against the Italians, who have never won in Cardiff, within half an hour when they led 20-0.
The coach said they have to take the same approach and attitude into the three-Test series with the new-look All Blacks.
“We are wasting our time getting on the plane if we don’t think we can go down there and push New Zealand hard,” said Gatland, a former All Black.
“Everyone talks about southern hemisphere (teams) moving the ball wide and the points and tries they score. Well, the last two southern hemisphere teams we’ve played, Australia never scored a try against us, and South Africa scored one in the last four minutes.”
Wales utterly dominated the wooden spoon holders, scoring five minutes in when the forwards surged from a lineout and scrumhalf Rhys Webb barged over.
By halftime, the Welsh had three tries, one more than they managed in the previous four first halves.
Winger George North offloaded for centre Jamie Roberts to begin the second half with a try after 20 phases, and he paid back North moments later.
From lineout ball, Roberts dummied inside and drew the defence in for North to glide through a huge hole.
He stepped off his left, motored past replacement fullback Luke McLean, and became only the second Welshman after Shane Williams in 2008 to score a try in four straight Six Nations matches.
Dan Biggar made seven of eight goalkicks plus dotted down for a haul of 21 before he was replaced with a quarter to go.