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Learn quickly or face All Blacks hammering.

GARETH JENKINS used the phrase 'learn the lessons of our mistakes' a lot during his tenure in charge of the Wales side.

But that's exactly whatWales must do if they are to have any chance of finishing the series on a positive note as this weekend.

I don't know if anyone else has that deep and foreboding feeling in the pit of their stomach ahead of this weekend's match, but this has all the makings of a major embarrassment.

New Zealand arrive on Saturday looking to complete yet another Grand Slam visit of the home nations, and are already looking every bit the World Champions elect.

Only a side seemingly in turmoil and low on confidence stand in their way, so to say this is going to be a tough task for the Welsh is as big an understatement as you can make.

Wales head into the encounter looking a shadow of the side that completed the Grand Slam in 2008, and are on the verge of failing to win in their last seven outings.

And with the World Cup less than 10-months away, this alarming dip in form could hardly have come at a worse time.

And to make matters worse lining up against the Haka is probably the last thing you want to be doing when you're already on the ropes.

Wales began the autumn series with the usual media hype surrounding them. It was a case of which scalp were they going to claim from the Tri Nations this time as opposed to merely trying to be competitive.

But as disaster after disaster has unfolded, Wales now head into the last weekend of the month desperate to avoid the fact they could go the whole of the series winless.

Yet the mood could have been so vastly different heading into Saturday's match.

Wales looked out of sorts in their defeat to Australia, although there were encouraging signs in that loss, the way the pack destroyed their counterparts' scrum was something which would have had all Wales fans smiling in delight.

What was disappointing though was the way in whichWales' backline failed to deliver, looked devoid of ideas and never even threatened the Wallabies line.

Wales could and should have beaten the Springboks the following week, somehow again letting a good lead slip away from them, before eventually going down to defeat.

But while those are in some way acceptable, what was not was the way in which Wales performed against Fiji last Friday night.

First of all let's not take anything away from Fiji, they battled away and if truth be known will have been the side genuinely more upset at the fact the game only finished as a draw.

All week the messages coming out of the Wales camp had suggested they were going to play a measured, structured game, they were going to build a platform and then work on the back of that - something they so sadly failed to do three years ago in the World Cup, which resulted in a defeat to the South Sea Islanders and ultimately an early exit.

Yet Wales never set that platform on Friday night to work off, as for parts of the game they were never allowed to and for that a lot of credit must got to the South Sea Islanders.

Again the breakdown was of major concern for Wales, Fiji committing more numbers, but also hitting the ruck with more ferocity and causing numerous turn overs throughout.

That is one area where Wales will desperately need to improve on this weekend, especially with arch spoiler Richie McCaw coming to town.

But the breakdown aside, there were other areas where Wales simply did not function, the biggest of which was the line out, where far too many times Huw Bennett and his jumpers were not on the same page and far too often a good attacking position went begging.

But it was also the number of penalties Wales gave away against Fiji that will have been of huge concern for all, especially given Ryan Jones' misdemeanour in the final minute which gifted Seremaia Bai the chance to ensure the draw.

With Dan Carter likely to be fit to face Wales on Saturday, they will know any infringement will be punished.

But Wales' kicking game must also dramatically improve, because simply kicking the ball back to the Kiwis is as good as conceding the match.

The All Blacks will look to run from anywhere on Saturday, and with their backline, especially if rugby league convert Sonny BillWilliams is included in the centres, will ensure a painful afternoon for anyone in red.

Simply put Wales must be massively better if they are to end a 57-year wait for a win over the men in black, but they also need to learn quickly from the lessons they've been dished out recently.

CAPTION(S):

Richie McCaw is tackled by Irish counterpart Brian O'Driscoll as the All Blacks moved a step closer to a Grand Slam tour
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Nov 25, 2010
Words:836
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