Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes they have learnt a great deal from New Zealand’s breakdown domination after his side’s 46-6 loss to the All Blacks in the three-match Test series in Dunedin on Saturday.
The New Zealand-born coach admits some significant lessons had been given to his side and it was now a case of learning from, and applying, them when they get back together.
Gatland admits that there were a lot of positives that can be taken out of the series.
In similar fashion to the other two matches, Wales started out well but failed to convert their territory and possession into points as was the case right before the break.
“But in fairness to the All Blacks I thought they were absolutely outstanding,” Gatland said.
“The pace of their back three caused us some problems and some of their collision dominance was pretty good as well.
“We’ll take a lot of lessons from what we’ve learnt from these three Tests and we need to make sure we apply that to the next time we are back together.
“The thing with the All Blacks is that when they do get away from you they just keep coming at you so it’s tough. But the game for us, as I said we started pretty well but we needed to definitely score before half-time when we had a chance,” he said.
Gatland said for Wales the exposure to the acceleration into the contact area that the All Blacks brought was a big work-on for the side to improve on.
“That was definitely the difference between the two sides [in Dunedin] and we need to learn from that experience and apply it next time we’re together,” he added.
“You can get away with it sometimes in the northern hemisphere because they’re definitely not as aggressive there at the breakdown and the All Blacks were clinical in that area,” he said.
Gatland said that coming to New Zealand it was vital to win the collision at the breakdown, both on attack and defence.
The difference was that the All Blacks are not slowing up and parking over the ball, they were accelerating into that contact.
“You talk about it and you try to work at it in training but until you experience that on the park it’s difficult for them to understand so that’s the biggest lesson we’ll take from the three Tests.”