Warburton: Belief will bear Kiwi fruit

PA Sport
Sam Warburton feels Wales can go into the New Zealand clash without any pressure
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Sam Warburton feels Wales can go into the New Zealand clash without any pressure

Sam Warburton believes Wales have "every chance" of beating world champions New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium next Saturday.

Wales have suffered five successive Test defeats and face a New Zealand side who are unbeaten in 19 games, and defend a 24-match winning sequence against Wales that stretches back almost 60 years.

"I guess there is no pressure on us now because nobody will expect anything next Saturday," Warburton said. "We are going to see who turns up on the day. That is sport, that is why there are underdogs, and underdogs can beat the favourites."

The All Blacks will unquestionably head into next month's 2015 World Cup draw as number one seeds. In contrast, Wales are clinging on to a top-eight spot following damaging home losses against Argentina and Samoa.

The RBS 6 Nations title holders have not lost six games on the bounce since current All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen was in charge of them 10 years ago. Another New Zealander, current Wales boss Warren Gatland, returns to the hot-seat this week after a spell of British and Irish Lions business preparing for next summer's Australia tour.

And apart from addressing his squad's alarming form slump, Gatland will need to assess an escalating injury list that now includes Ospreys pair Richard Hibbard and Dan Biggar following the Samoa setback.

"If it was very predictable, nobody would watch it," Warburton added. "There is every chance we can win next Saturday - I definitely believe that. You have to believe that in every game you go into, but whether people think that is realistic or not is up to them. But I have approached every game believing we can win it.

Warburton is set to become the 19th different Wales skipper since 1953 to lead his country against New Zealand. All 18 predecessors failed in their victory missions.

"Players in the side are not going to forget the way we played back at the World Cup, in the Six Nations last season and in the summer (against Australia)," he said. "That doesn't just go with a flick of the fingers. It is still the same players - it's not as if it is a new squad or we've brought new guys in.

"I think the players are letting ourselves down. It is something we will all analyse together, and it's the same when you are doing well and winning games. As long as we keep our spirits high, I am sure we will come through it quite quickly."

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