Wales were largely outmuscled by New Zealand as they conceded more than 50 points in losing their test at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, coach Wayne Pivac admitted afterwards.
The marauding All Blacks were back to their impressive best as they scored eight tries and a record number of points against Wales in a 55-23 win that extends their winning run against Wales to 33 successive internationals.
“There were a lot of good individual performances, but collectively, as a group, we needed to be more physical and come off the line,” Pivac told reporters.
“Summarising the game from our point of view, we wanted a fast start and we didn’t get that. We leaked 17 points early on. We were very pleased to get back in the game and we started the second-half as we hoped, scoring first and getting within seven.
“Unfortunately after that, we weren’t able to exit and that’s down to the pressure they put on us. From there, we chased the game a bit and chasing the game saw the score run away a bit for them.”
Pivac said that New Zealand as first opponents in their four autumn internationals in Cardiff was always going to be a hard task.
“Our players know if you give them time and space, they’re dangerous against anyone. That’s how it turned out. We knew what we needed to do, but we weren’t able to execute,” he said.
“They’re coming off some test matches and are match-hardened at test level. We’ll get better as we go.”
Wales, whose previous test outing was in July, next host Argentina on Saturday, Georgia on Nov. 19 and Australia the week after that.
“At the end of the day, we were beaten by a better side, particularly in the areas that forwards pride themselves on. It’s something we’ll work hard on,” Pivac added.
The Wales coach said that loose forward Tommy Reffell has suffered a rib injury and would be assessed before this week’s preparations begin.
Winger Alex Cuthbert is expected to be available after recovering from injury but Leigh Halfpenny had to withdraw from the starting line up on the eve of Saturday’s test with a hamstring problem and could miss the rest of the autumn programme.