But that prospect doesn't faze the All Blacks at all, as Evan Pegden of the Waikato Times reports:
Wales are promising a physical battering at tonight's second rugby test against the All Blacks.
But All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw said they were fully expecting it and ready for it.
Wales' Waikato coach Warren Gatland said yesterday physical commitment had been stressed at a team meeting earlier in the day with assistant coach Robin McBride leading the call for the players to look within themselves.
"The body will go as far as the mind tells it to go in terms of that physical confrontation and there's no tougher place to come and experience that physical confrontation than New Zealand," Gatland said.
"Bring it on." we say. In two and three weeks' time, the All Blacks face South Africa at Auckland and Wellington respectively. They know that they will be physically tested in those matches, from which will almost certainly emerge a Tri-Nations winner. So a hard, physical, confrontational match tonight will be right up their alley.
They've picked a forward pack with that in mind, we reckon. The tight five of Woodcock, Mealamu, Tialata, Thorn and the recalled Tom Donnelly are hard men. It may not be the All Blacks' best tight five in our opinion, but none of them will back away from a physical confrontation. McCaw was in sublime form last weekend, with Kieran Read not far behind. and Jerome Kaino is our most physical loose forward.
We expect the All Blacks to win tonight, and to win with comfort. We'd expect a better start from them; they will be keen to deal to the Welsh forwards early in the game, and not allow them forty minutes of dominance or even parity. We'll be looking more at the manner of the All Blacks play rather than the scoreline.
The Tri-Nations squad is named tomorrow, so all those on the field tonight have plenty to play for. Let's hope that we see a rampant performance by the All Black forwards in particular; one which quickly extinguishes any fire from the Red Dragon.
UPDATE: New Zealand 29: Wales 10
What a poor test match. It was error-ridden, and some pedantic refereering from Jonathan Kaplan (especially around the advantage law) didn't help. The Welsh tried hard and were rewarded with a late try, but they played to and often beyond the limit of the law. The All Blacks lacked and spark, and made a worrying number of handling errors.
The positives: Brad Thorn had a huge game, especially in the last quarter as the Welsh attacked, and Tom Donnelly put himself about for 50 minutes. He was a tackling machine! Dan Carter's goalkicking was good, Zac Guilford looked sharp on attack and strong on defence, and Aaron Cruden will be bouyed by a late first test try.
The negatives: The All Black scrum was average at best throughout the match. Too much ball was turned over, and attacking opportunities were few and far between. Mils Muliaina was well below his best, and looked pedestrian towards the end.
It was a poor dress rehersal for the Tri-Nations after two encouraging performances to start the international season. Major improvements will be needed across the park if the All Blacks are to co mpete against the South Africans in two weeks' time.