Rob Howley: High risk, high reward for Wales against New Zealand
WALES have been told they must adopt a "high risk, high reward" policy if they are to have any chance of creating history against the All Blacks this evening (5.30).
Warren Gatland's side go into the Millennium Stadium clash desperately searching for a way of bringing to an end 59 years of misery against New Zealand.
The withdrawal of star fly-half Dan Carter from the visitors ranks because of a leg injury does at least remove one big gun from the visitors' impressive armoury.
But Wales still remain rank outsiders to end New Zealand's seemingly relentless unbeaten Test run, which will stretch to 20 matches with victory in Cardiff.
"Particularly when you play against New Zealand, it's about that belief and confidence and players believing that we can actually play rugby against New Zealand," said attack coach Rob Howley.
"When you are playing against the world's best side, every minute counts. It is important to dominate territory and possession early on.
"I am sure every game is about that, but when you are playing against the world's best what you don't want to give them is an early opportunity to get up on the scoreboard.
"It is absolutely vital that we start well. We've spoken many times this week about our ability to play with the ball and put New Zealand under pressure with a passing game.
"The one thing which you have to do in international rugby is be accurate, whether you kick the ball, pass the ball or make decisions.
"And when you play against New Zealand you also have to ask questions with the ball in hand and throw them something outside of the box. High risk, high reward."
The return of Gatland to the helm has at least provided the home camp with a much-needed lift in the wake of back-to-back defeats to Argentina and Samoa.
"All the players and coaches have enjoyed having Warren back," added Howley. "He is one of the best head coaches in world rugby, and I think any coaching team would miss a person of his calibre.
"We've been a really good coaching team over the last four or five years, and to have one of the best head coaches in world rugby back gives huge confidence to players and coaches.
"He is very astute, he is a very honest coach. He's been involved over the last two weeks as well. He has come in, watched training and spoken with players.
"Warren's greatest strength is that he is very, very optimistic, and whatever challenge is thrown in his path he believes he can win. That certainly rubs off on players and coaches."
Meanwhile, Aaron Cruden takes Carter's place at No. 10 for the All Blacks.