Wales face Boks in 'season defining' Test

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:18

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wales go into their final match of the year, against South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday, in 'Cup Final' mode.

Welsh defence coach Shaun Edwards said the result of Saturday's game against the Springboks will define their year-end campaign - which so far has been bitterly disappointing, despite two fortuitous victories over Argentina (24-20) and Japan (33-30).

Wales have only won two and drawn one of their previous 31 matches against South Africa.

However, Wales were victorious when they last met in Cardiff two years ago, with Leigh Halfpenny kicking four penalties in a hard-fought 12-6 victory.

"The success or relative failure [of the year-end campaign] will depend on whether we win on Saturday," Edwards said.

"It's been said in the past we've played Australia many times and lost by one point.

"We've played fantastic, but we've lost. It's all about winning and we've won two tight games.

"Have we played as well as wanted to on Saturday? No, we didn't.

"But we're going into a Cup Final this week against a team ranked higher than us and we want that fourth ranked position."

Edwards said Wales were going to play some "winning rugby".

"It's about the Ws," he said, adding: "We've got home in last two games and we need to do that on Saturday."

The defence coach also had a simple philosophy when asked what is the best way to beat the Boks.

"[We must] cut our errors down, cut the turnovers down, tighten our game, play at the right time and limit our turnovers.

"Our discipline been pretty good with the referees, and if Leigh Halfpenny keeps kicking as well as he has done I don't think we'll be too far away."

The Springboks have lost seven times this year with coach Allister Coetzee's role coming under huge scrutiny.

There has been a record 15-57 defeat to New Zealand, a first-ever home loss to Ireland and last Saturday's 18-20 defeat to Italy - their first-ever loss to the Azzurri.

"They don't like playing in the wet, you saw that against England," Edwards said.

* Meanwhile second row Bradley Davies has been released from the national squad back to the Ospreys due to a knee injury.

Edwards is also hoping that prop Gethin Jenkins recovers from his shoulder injury.

Loose forward Taulupe Faletau and hooker Ken Owens are available.