Wales com­plete clean sweep

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports -

Coach War­ren Gatland said Wales would not get com­pla­cent after a record-set­ting night on Sat­ur­day saw them achieve a first clean sweep of their Novem­ber in­ter­na­tion­als as well as a ninth suc­ces­sive test vic­tory to con­firm them as cred­i­ble World Cup con­tenders.

“We’re not get­ting too car­ried away. We’ll just keep our head down, work hard and start think­ing about the Six Na­tions,” he said after the 20-11 win over South Africa at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium un­der­lined Wales’s sta­tus as the world’s third-ranked team.

The long-stand­ing Welsh coach, who de­parts after the 2019 tour­na­ment, added: “It’s my last 12 months and I’d like to fin­ish on a high.”

Prop To­mas Fran­cis and full­back Liam Wil­liams both crossed the line in the open­ing 16 min­utes for Wales while Jesse Kriel got South Africa’s only try in the se­cond half.

Wales solid de­fence and in­tel­li­gent play sug­gested Gatland could well see his wish ful­filled. “We’ve got a good group of play­ers that the pub­lic should be re­ally proud of. The way they con­duct them­selves, pre­pare and train – they’ve been out­stand­ing,? he said.

Tough­est

Wales beat Scot­land, Aus­tralia, Tonga and South Africa in their un­prece­dented Novem­ber sweep, with Sat­ur­day’s win the tough­est as they were put un­der pres­sure for large parts of the game after scor­ing two early tries.

“It was the tough­est game we’ve played this au­tumn. When you play the best teams in the world you can get ex­posed,” Gatland added. “There is some game man­age­ment we can im­prove. The good thing with these guys is they can dig them­selves into a hole and then get out of it. We’re in a good place. That’s a nice feel­ing in the chang­ing room. But we know there’s a lot of work to do.”

Wales, who have beaten South Africa in their last four meet­ings, next tackle France in Paris at the start of Six Na­tions on Fe­bru­ary 1st.

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