Wales draw from Lions heroics

2013-11-04 10:25
Warren Gatland (AFP)
Cape Town - Wales will take heart from the British and Irish Lions' demolition of Australia earlier this year when they tackle the Springboks in Cardiff on Saturday.

There were 10 Welsh players in the Lions' starting team for the decisive third Test against the Wallabies in June - a game the Lions convincingly won 41-16 to claim their first series win in 16 years.

Wales coach Warren Gatland was also the Lions coach and the New Zealander believes his players now have enough confidence to beat the Southern Hemisphere heavyweights.

Wales have improved markedly in recent years, winning two Grand Slams and three Six Nations titles since Gatland took over as coach in 2008.

However, their record against the three Southern Hemisphere powers - South Africa, New Zealand and Australia - remains dismal. They have suffered 22 defeats in 23 matches against the "Big Three" under Gatland with the sole victory coming against the Wallabies in 2008.

Their overall record in Tests against South Africa is also poor, with the Boks holding a 24-1 winning record, with one match ending in a draw.

However, after his heroics with the Lions, Gatland is ready to build on that good momentum, starting with Saturday's Test against the Springboks.

In Monday's Cape Times, Gatland said the players involved in the Lions tour have gained a huge amount of confidence from the series victory in Australia.

He said a lot of Welshmen were key components in the Lions team and they now know that they can beat the Southern Hemisphere teams.

He also said they were unlucky to lose to the Springboks the last time the teams clashed at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand two years ago.

The Boks were lucky to sneak a 17-16 victory after Wales had chances to win the game with kicks in the dying moments.

Following their clash against the Welsh, the Boks also tackle Scotland in Edinburgh (November 17) and France in Paris (November 23).

Read more on:    springboks  |  wales  |  warren gatland  |  rugby


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