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Warburton: Win was a matter of time


Wales captain Sam Warburton celebrates victory over South Africa

Wales captain Sam Warburton celebrates victory over South Africa

Wales captain Sam Warburton celebrates victory over South Africa

Sam Warburton says he does not feel any sense of surprise after Wales finally ended their southern hemisphere hoodoo.

Captain Warburton led from the front, helping to inspire only a second victory in 108 years over South Africa, and Wales' first against the Springboks, New Zealand and Australia since November 2008.

Despite suffering a number of agonising losses to world rugby's so-called big three during Warren Gatland's seven-year coaching reign, Warburton never lost heart that one day his team would crack the code of success.

"It does not feel like a monkey off your back now," Warburton said.

"It has always felt as if we have been able to achieve a win against one of these three sides, and that's why I don't feel surprised that we have won.

"The amount of work we put in behind the scenes might surprise quite a lot of people about how hard these group of players work.

"I always thought it was a matter of when, not if, and I never doubted the ability of our team.

"You only have to be in our changing room before the game and see how motivated everyone is to play these sides.

"We have been in that situation so many times before that it actually did not feel alien or a pressure situation. We still knew what we exactly had to do.

"What pleased me was that there was more talking in the last five minutes than I have ever heard in any Test match I have played in.

"There were people telling each other what to do, and in the past we have not done that. At the end, we still felt physically in a good place for the last five minutes, and that was one of the pleasing things."

Warburton is set to win his 50th cap when Wales kick off their RBS 6 Nations campaign against Millennium Stadium visitors England on February 6, and he believes the South Africa win could prove to be a critical result.

"It is an amazing career highlight and a massive achievement because I have not experienced this in a Welsh jersey before," he added.

"But this has to be the standard now to kick on. We don't want this to be once in a blue moon and celebrate it like we have won the World Cup.

"If we want to be world beaters, which we want to do, and win the World Cup, this has to be the standard we have to set year in year out, and we need to kick on."

Hooker Scott Baldwin, meanwhile, has no doubt that composure was key to Wales finishing on top against the Springboks.

"We were six points up with 10 minutes to go, it was in the balance, and they had a scrum five metres out and we showed our character by the way we scrummaged," Baldwin said.

"They are fine margins, and on this occasion we probably had that little bit more composure which got us the result.

"I think it is a step on the road for us. We have been looking for a big result, and I think it is a big result, a big thing for this team going forward to finish the campaign and the year on a high.

"I think everyone was so tired after the game. Everyone was just taking it in, and we just chilled out for half an hour.

"It probably won't kick in until Monday morning how much of an achievement it is."