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Rugby Union: It's too late for Wales, whatever the changes.

NEW ZEALAND legend Colin Meads insists Wales have to make changes to its structure to have any hope of returning to the top - and even then he doubts they will.

'When I first became an All Black, we had never won at Cardiff Arms Park, (we didn't play there in '24, 35 and 53),' he said.

'When we got there it was like a war - we had to beat them. But that's all changed. I think it's just through a change of lifestyles. They used to have miners and that's all gone now.

'When some of the All Blacks returned from the tour of the UK in 1997, they said they couldn't get out of Wales fast enough. That broke my heart because of the great tradition rugby has there.

'In my day the rugby was really fearsome in Wales. You had to grind away for 60 minutes and expect to be given hell,' Meads says in next month's International Rugby News.

'It's a shame the way things have turned out for Wales and I honestly hope they can turn their fortunes around. Somehow I think it's too late.

'The general feeling is that they [Wales] will never get back to being the force they were. It's upsetting. In my day, the three power nations of the world were New Zealand, South Africa and Wales.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:Feb 22, 2003
Words:225
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