Dan Lydiate has no doubt that Wales will be “ready to go” for their RBS 6 Nations title defence this season.
Wales’ form in European rugby’s blue riband competition contrasts starkly with their record against southern hemisphere heavyweights New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Since Warren Gatland took over as head coach in early 2008, Wales have won 22 out of 30 Six Nations games, landing three titles and two Grand Slams.
But the former Tri-Nations teams have collectively triumphed on 22 occasions from 23 starts, with Wales’ victory over Australia five years ago representing their solitary success under Gatland.
“It is better than last autumn,” Wales flanker Lydiate said, contrasting November wins against Argentina and Tonga with a four-Test 2012 November whitewash.
“We have picked up a lot of injuries during this campaign, and some young players have come in and have done themselves justice.
“That bodes well for the future, and although we lost against Australia we can move on again and come back for the Six Nations and be ready to go.”
Wales’ latest loss to Australia — 30-26 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday — meant Lydiate and company once again came up short, although they played their part fully in an immense Test match.
“We are gutted. Looking after the ball and making correct decisions at the right time is not something we managed to do. The speed of ball is just so quick. You think there is a ruck there and it will be slow ball, but as soon as you make a tackle you just see the ball flying out and at times it is really hard to defend against. It is so hard to defend against someone like Quade Cooper because you don’t know if he is going to pass, or when you think he will take it into contact, he pulls the pass out the back of the hand. These are the best players in the world.”
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