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Wales confirm Millennium showdown with All Blacks

Wales confirm Millennium showdown with All Blacks

New Zealand All Blacks

Wales will get the chance to add the coveted scalp of the All Blacks to their Grand Slam achievement when New Zealand come to Cardiff on November 24.


The Welsh Rugby Union last night announced the fixtures for this year’s autumn series, with the clash against Steve Hansen’s side the third game of the annual schedule.


Wales will face Argentina in the opening encounter on November 10 followed by a Friday night meeting with World Cup group foes Samoa on November 16.


Another clash with Australia will complete the programme on December 1, meaning Wales will have faced the Wallabies six times in just over a year following their three-Test schedule Down Under this June.


Depending on how successful that expedition is, the two closing games of the autumn against the two southern hemisphere superpowers is certain to capture the imagination of the Welsh supporters keen to see Warren Gatland’s side take the next step on from European domination.  And having not beaten New Zealand since 1953, their scalp will be the most prized by some distance.


WRU chief executive, Roger Lewis, said: “I am delighted we are able to announce such an excellent series of games for this autumn.

“Warren Gatland has always said we will only get better by playing the best and this autumn we have certainly met his challenge and lived up to his expectations.


“New Zealand are worthy world champions while facing Australia will be a prelude to the next summer’s British and Irish Lions tour so those games are absolutely compelling.


“Argentina are great crowd favourites and tough opposition wherever they play and whoever they face while Samoa are quite literally one of the most powerful rugby teams around.


“Our current Welsh team plays a brand of compelling and engaging rugby which delights our fans and I am confident the series we have on offer will prove to be a great attraction.”


Supporters can now pre-register their interest for tickets via the WRU website to ensure being first in the queue when the first tranche go on public sale at the end of April.


Meanwhile Welsh rugby clubs are now being asked to place their orders while members of the public are being urged to get in touch with their local club to see if any are available for sale.


Tickets are expected to go on general public sale early in May when any member of the public will be able to buy them through the usual official channels.


Wales have endured several near-misses against the All Blacks, with their 26-25 defeat at the Millennium Stadium in 2004 the closest they have come to ending their now 59-year hoodoo against the world champions.


Gatland has made it clear that beating the Tri-Nations teams is now the next goal for his team.


“Our big aim is to be consistent in beating the southern hemisphere sides,” Gatland said.


“And we have a young enough side that over the next few years hopefully we can do that.


“We have been down in games during this tournament and we have learnt how to win ugly and in the past that may not have happened.”


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