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Wales backed to come back strong

Shaun Edwards hopes Wales can again produce an improved second Test performance after their latest slow start condemned them to a humbling 38-16 defeat against South Africa.

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.

It is not the first time the tourists have struggled to get up to speed from the off when visiting the southern hemisphere.

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.

"In the first half of the first match of a series, we have struggled to get up to pace, intensity and the speed of the game.

"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.

"They will be a lot better than that for next week because we need to be a lot better than that.

"They bring a lot of pace and physicality and we struggled to cope with that.

"There was nothing about the way South Africa played we did not expect and I am sure we will get more of the same next week."


From Belfast Telegraph