Wales have ‘soul searching’ to do
By Alan Good
George North admits Wales have much soul-searching to do as they try to keep their flagging autumn internationals campaign on the rails.
Lions coach Warren Gatland returns to the helm of a side who will be staring at their sixth successive defeat — their worst results sequence in nine years — when New Zealand roll into Cardiff next Saturday.
“We have got a big week ahead of us,” said Wales wing North.
“It has been a bit of a poor start for us, but hopefully we can conjure up something against the All Blacks.
“They are the hardest team in the world to try to get a win against, but we are really focusing on it.
“We suffered in terms of discipline (in Friday’s 26-19 loss to Samoa), our basic skills under pressure. We lost that battle.’’
The All Blacks look set to restore the likes of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw to the side having watched a much-changed side have little difficulty dispatching Italy 42-10 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Scotland captain Kelly Brown took encouragement from their unsuccessful attacking fightback against South Africa — but has told his team-mates they cannot afford to wait so long against Tonga next weekend.
“The last 30 minutes it was either a case of lie down and die or stand up and fight, and I thought we stood up and fought,” Brown said of the 21-10 reverse.
“As a captain I want a side that is going to stand up and fight but next week we need to do that from the first whistle.”
Scotland are now all-but certain to be among the third seeds in the draw for the 2015 World Cup, which takes place on December 3, after failing to break into the top eight in the rankings.
France are aiming to be among the top four seeds in the draw, and boosted their chances with a 39-22 defeat of Argentina.
“I am happy that we have been able to put together two successive victories in successive weeks, especially against two southern hemisphere sides,” said France coach Philippe Saint-André.
“Even more so when one looks at the results and you see that no other country from Europe beat a southern hemisphere nation side today.”
He warned his side not to take a dangerous Samoan side for granted this weekend.
“You have to keep your humility when you see the Welsh who won the Six Nations Grand Slam but have lost their last five Tests ahead of hosting the All Blacks and the Australians.
“We can see that we really have a tightly-knit squad who give everything for each other. However, we must not get big-headed.”
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