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So Near Yet So Far!

So Near Yet So Far!

So near, yet so far! Wales star Martyn Williams spoke of the deep frustration his team mates felt after blowing a golden opportunity to end a 49-year famine against the All Blacks.

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‘The All Blacks were definitely rattled when we scored our second try and cut the gap to five points,’ admitted Williams, voted the man of the BT Autumn

‘We got a bit carried away with the momentum of the crowd and we tried to score a try straight from the kick-off. Then Doug Howlett scored his second try.

‘The All Blacks are so clinical. We had a few lapses of concentration at the turnovers and they made us pay.’
Williams owned up to a lapse in concentration himself in the build up to that Howlett try when he failed to take the bouncing ball.

‘I’m not going to sleep much tonight after that. I should have got to the ball, but Howlett is so quick.
‘He and Tana Umaga have got to be the best players in their positions in the world and our youngsters will have learned a lot by playing against the.

We are not going to kid ourselves that we are up there with the best in the world, but we certainly showed we can compete with them.

‘There is a lot of frustration in the Welsh dressing room, rather than disappointmnt. There were a few unlucky bounces, although we realise we’ve got to be a little bit more clinical.

‘We’ve also got to realise that international rugby is 85 or more minutes long these days. You have to keep going all the way to the end.’

All Blacks backs coach Robbie Deans, who used to work with Wales coach Steve Hansen at the Canterbury Crusaders, paid tribute to the Welsh effort a year ahead of their meeting in the World Cup in Australia.

‘Wales played very positively and they put us under a lot of pressure. At the 70 minute mark it was anyone’s game,’ said Deans.

‘Wales bring a lot of passion to their game and they can play different types of game.’

For his part, Hansen was left dreaming of what might have been after South African referee Tappe Henning awarded his side a penalty try at a scrum.
Iestyn Harris’ conversion brought Wales to within one score with seven minutes left on the clock.

But when they were at their most vulnerable, the All Blacks hit back and wrapped up the game with three more tries.

‘It was a pretty competitive match and that’s a good reflection on our performance. The scoreboard will say that they got away from us in the end,’ said Hansen.
‘What it shows is that we can be competitive against the best sides. I think they did themselves and Wales proud.’

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