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Wales welcome New Zealand in the Millennium Stadium in week 3 of their Autumn Internationals. But what’s the history of the two teams? And who’s likely to win this time round?
The sides have met 33 times with New Zealand winning 30 and Wales 3. New Zealand have won the last 29 in a row, stretching back to 1963 and, sadly for the Welsh, this match is predicted to go the way of the men in black as well, with the Kiwis projected to run out comfortable 16 – 42 victors.
The first ever match was back in 1905, with the Welsh winning by a single try, 3 – 0. Wales won 3 from the first 4, but from then on New Zealand have exerted complete control over the fixture winning every match since. Wales ran the New Zealanders close a few times in the 70s during the Welsh golden age, but since then it has been rather one sided, with just 4 of the 23 games played since 1980 being decided by fewer then 15 points. So, is there any hope for the Welsh?
The data would suggest not much, with the Welsh forecasted to just have a 9% chance of victory on Saturday. However, much has been made of the fact that New Zealand will be missing 5 of their usual starting pack – something our model does not (yet) account for. Could this be enough for Wales to steal a famous win?
Perhaps. But it is still unlikely we feel. New Zealand have such strength in depth that they should be able to fill the gaps without too much trouble. Wales too, have been blooding some new players, and given the history and gap between the two teams, we feel safe predicting a comfortable New Zealand win.