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Robin McBryde: Wales can't pass up last chance to impress this autumn

Published 25/11/2016

Robin McBryde wants Wales to end their autumn campaign in style against South Africa on Saturday
Robin McBryde wants Wales to end their autumn campaign in style against South Africa on Saturday

Robin McBryde has urged Wales to grasp the opportunity of finishing their autumn series in style on Saturday.

Victory over Principality Stadium visitors South Africa would give Wales three wins out of four in November and deliver their best series of autumn results since 2002.

But after being beaten heavily by Australia, and then claiming narrow victories over Argentina and Japan, public and media criticism has accompanied the November Tests.

"We can't kid ourselves," Wales assistant coach McBryde said. "If the performance is up there, I think the result takes care of itself, so we are really looking for the boys to step up tomorrow.

"It's the last opportunity to show what we can do against quality opposition, and we can't pass it up. It's got to be tomorrow, and we have got to front-up and show what we can do.

"I imagine it is going to be a very physical game, and we have got to show plenty of composure and accuracy with ball in hand.

"It's down to performance, and what you do with the experience. We have got a vastly-experienced squad, and hopefully we can show that tomorrow.

"It would be good to finish on a high note.

"The expectation from this group of players is obviously a lot higher, when you consider how good they've been consistently over the years.

"And the frustrating thing is that we haven't quite had that performance that reflects the talent within the squad, so hopefully they can do themselves justice tomorrow."

History is stacked against Wales, having beaten the Springboks just twice from 31 attempts, but they will meet a South Africa side reeling from defeat to Italy last weekend - their seventh loss of 2016.

And the home side also have a huge advantage in terms of experience, with their starting line-up totalling more than 800 caps, compared with South Africa's 260, while the Springboks' back division have just 40 Test match appearances between them.

"It's more about the hurt they are feeling probably after their loss to Italy," McBryde added.

"They will be looking to put things right and win their last game with (Adriaan) Strauss as captain. It is going to be a tough test for us.

"We have been together for a month, and historically, we have got better as that month has gone on. This is our last opportunity, and hopefully the performance will reflect the hard work that the boys have done.

"Ideally, it will be a great spectacle, we will play to the best of our ability and we will win. That's what we are aiming for, but South Africa will have something to say about that.

"It's just reminding the players that we are not too far away, really. It is fine margins at this level.

"Tomorrow is going to be a test of our mettle against one of the best teams in the world."

Strauss, meanwhile, accepts that the Springboks need to raise their standard following a dismal run of results as he prepares for his final game before retiring from Test rugby.

"It has not been a good year for South African rugby," he said. "Our standards are high, and our public and supporters deserve more. As South Africans, we expect more from ourselves.

"It is difficult to point a finger at exactly what is wrong. Certainly things must change, but those discussions are for after this game. The focus for us is only Wales - we have a massive Test match tomorrow evening.

"I don't compare our team to other years' teams. If I compare our team to our standards, we have definitely fallen short of what we are capable of with the ability we have got in the team. That is not good enough.

"It will hurt afterwards, when you look at the history, but on its own we have lost too many Test matches this year, lost games we should not have lost and have not played the way we wanted to, or to the standard we wanted to."

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