Edwards backs Wales to come back strong

South Africa 38 Wales 16

Edwards backs Wales to come back strong

Wales were simply blitzed during the opening half of the first Test in Durban, conceding four tries to trail 28-9 at the interval with no hope of a comeback.

Against South Africa in 2008, New Zealand in 2010 and Australia in 2012, Wales failed to produce in the opening game of a series, but were much improved come the second contests with their hosts.

Assistant coach Edwards wants to see history repeat itself this time round.

He said: “It’s the same old story. It happened in 2008 here and it happened in 2009 with the Lions here too.

“It also happened in Australia in 2012 and it has happened again in the first Test here, hopefully we can give a better account of ourselves next week.

“I thought we were definitely better in the second half but when you lose the penalty count 13-7 and they spend seven-and-a-half minutes in your 22 you are really fighting with your backs against the wall.

“But we have always come back strongly when this has happened before and we will certainly be turning up next week and the South Africans will know they have been in a more competitive game next week.”

Wales’ record against the southern hemisphere’s big three since head coach Warren Gatland took charge in 2007 is just one win from 24 games. The sole success coming against Australia in November 2008.

If Wales want to be considered potential challengers for next year’s World Cup, a southern hemisphere scalp would be a key accomplishment.

But the New Zealander has rejected the notion his players lack the belief to beat the world’s top three sides. “I don’t think there is a lack of belief,” he said. We want to play them on every possible occasion because we learn so much and there is a big step up in terms of pace and intensity, and there was a big step up for the guys here.

Scorers for South Africa: Tries: Habana 2, Vermeulen, le Roux, Hendricks. Cons: Steyn 5. Pens: Steyn.

Scorer for Wales: Tries: Cuthbert. Cons: Hook. Pens: Biggar. Drop Goals: Biggar 2

SOUTH AFRICA: le Roux, Hendricks, Pietersen, Serfontein, Habana, Steyn, du Preez, Steenkamp, B. du Plessis, J. du Plessis, Botha, Matfield, Louw, Alberts, Vermeulen, Goosen.

Replacements: Mvovo for le Roux (71), Goosen for Steyn (71), Mtawarira for Steenkamp (45), Brits for B. du Plessis (70), Oosthuizen for J. du Plessis (59), de Jager for Botha (41), Burger for Alberts (59), Pienaar for Goosen (74).

WALES: L. Williams, Cuthbert, J. Davies, Roberts, North, Biggar, Phillips, Jenkins, Owens, A. Jones, Charteris, A. Jones, Lydiate, A. Shingler, Faletau.

Replacements: Morgan for L. Williams (66), Hook for Biggar (65), G. Davies for Phillips (56), James for Jenkins (62), Rees for Owens (62), Lee for A. Jones (32), Evans for Charteris (56), Turnbull for A. Shingler (56)

Referee: Romain Poite (France).

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