Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips says Wales 'can bounce back' from consecutive defeats at the start of the autumn international series, and that Saturday's game against the All Blacks will give them a chance 'to put some pride back in the jersey'.
Wales lost 26-19 to Samoa on Friday night, after a 26-12 reverse to Argentina last weekend. Neither side has been on the top table of the global game, and they were thought to be winnable ties, before the tougher challenges of southern hemisphere giants New Zealand and Australia to come.
Rob Howley, the caretaker coach, has attracted criticism, as Wales have lost all five games since he took charge for the tour to Australia in the summer. Phillips, though, insists the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of those on the pitch. "It's the players that have to stand up", he says.
– Mike Phillips, Wales scrum-half
We are obviously devastated. It was really poor (against Samoa) and we just weren't good enough. We have had a lot of injuries, which has been unfortunate, but we can't look for excuses. These things make you stronger and we have to be positive and learn from this. We can bounce back.We have a great management team. All the players respect them and want to play well for them and the public. It's disappointing that we have let a lot of people down. Next Saturday is a chance to put some pride back in the jersey, and we have to do that. We have to show people that we are proud of the jersey.