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Welsh Webb: All Blacks are there for the taking

There is no danger that Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb (inset) will disappear in a fog of insecurity or uncertainty as he prepares to make his first Test match start against world champions New Zealand.

But it is a sense of confidence, not arrogance, that accompanies Webb when he offers an assessment about what Wales can expect at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

"They are a world-class team, top of the rankings at the moment, but I think they are to be taken as well," the Ospreys number nine said.


"It excites me, really. You want to test yourself against the best teams in the world.

"I've been given the chance this weekend, and it's a dream come true after so many years of watching the All Blacks on the television and basically just admiring the way they play and the philosophy they have in their camp of winning games.

"They are a special team, and to be given the chance to play against them this weekend is something I am really looking forward to."

And if Webb is able to play a part in orchestrating Wales' first victory over New Zealand since 1953 and end a dismal run of 25 successive defeats against them, then a former All Blacks favourite will have been partially responsible.

Justin Marshall enjoyed a stellar 10-year Test career, winning 81 caps and establishing himself as arguably the world's top scrum-half.

After calling time on his international career in 2005, Marshall spent two seasons with the Ospreys, where Webb recalls a "very special" learning experience.

Webb (25) delivered a try-scoring display when Wales opened their autumn campaign by losing narrowly to Australia earlier this month and, after being ruled out of contention against Fiji last weekend due to a minor neck complaint, he has again been selected above 89 times-capped Mike Phillips.

And such recognition by Wales head coach Warren Gatland underlines what an outstanding campaign Webb has enjoyed for the Ospreys, the unbeaten Guinness PRO12 leaders.