Lions’ triumph has boosted Wales
- 04 Nov 2013
Wales have not won a November Test since 2009, but former flyhalf Barry John believes the Six Nations champions will win three of their four matches this month.
Since beating Argentina 33-16 in Cardiff, Wales have achieved the following results in end-of-year Tests:
Lost 33-12 to Wallabies
Lost 25-16 to Wallabies
Lost 29-25 to Springboks
Drew 16-16 with Fiji
Lost 37-25 to All Blacks
Lost 26-12 to Argentina
Lost 26-19 to Samoa
Lost 33-10 to All Blacks
Lost 14-12 to Wallabies
Since Warren Gatland was appointed Wales coach, they have lost 21 out of 22 matches against the big three southern hemisphere sides (their sole victory came against the Wallabies in 2008).
However, a British & Irish Lions team stacked with Wales players, and coached by Gatland, won a series in Australia earlier this year, which John says will give Wales new belief going into this November campaign.
'The confidence is there now from the players who went on the Lions tour and starred in the series victory against Australia,' he wrote in a column for the Western Mail. 'This was a monkey off the back for the Welsh players and showed they can defeat southern hemisphere sides. Now they have to prove they can repeat this feat in the red shirt of Wales.
'I am very confident the team will do well and pick up three scalps against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia. Wales are now a strong, young and established team who also have the ability to excite.'
John admitted that Wales' first match, against the Springboks on Saturday, was a 'daunting' prospect but that they shouldn't be overawed.
'The Springboks will realise that, even though Wales have not performed on a global stage as well they should have, they have regained prestige at the top table over the past few months.'
John added that whoever Wales selected at flyhalf – Rhys Priestland or Dan Biggar – would have a key role to play against the Boks.
'Accurate kicking out of hand is crucial because the Springboks' back three have been devastating at counter-attacking in the Rugby Championship. That has been a feature of their game over the past couple of months, even against New Zealand where they punished the All Blacks on occasions with spectacular rugby.'
Wales have only beaten the Springboks once in 26 Tests – a 29-19 win in 1999 – but have come close in their last four matches. The Boks won those 20-15 in 2008 (Cardiff), 34-31 in 2010 (Cardiff), 29-25 in 2010 (Cardiff) and 17-16 in 2011 (Wellington).
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Jake gambles on Reinach
A new halfback combination in Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie would have lent the Sharks some much-needed stability in the crunch semi-final in Christchurch, writes JON CARDINELLI.
Can the real Steyn please stand up?
The Sharks need Frans Steyn to be the match-winner he should be against the Crusaders on Saturday, writes RYAN VREDE.
Willie is Bok miracle man
Springbok fullback Willie le Roux is on the cover of the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, on sale now.