Warren Gatland: Wales deserved South Africa win

Wales head coach reacts to their 12-6 win over the Springboks which ended a 22-match losing streak against the big three

Warren Gatland admitted Wales deserved to win as they finally ended their losing streak against the southern hemisphere big three.

The Wales head coach saw full-back Leigh Halfpenny slot four penalty goals in a 12-6 victory over South Africa at the Millennium Stadium.

“We deserved that win today,” Gatland said.

“In terms of the relief, and the pressure people talk about, you thrive on that at this level. That’s what it’s all about.

“The autumn series is about playing the best in the world.

“There are no competition points at stake. For us it’s about the Six Nations and preparing for that.”

I couldn’t watch the last couple of minutes. I was just watching it in the box on the television, standing up.

Warren Gatland

Wales’ only other win against South Africa in 108 years came in 1999 in the first match at the Millennium Stadium.

The win in their 12th and final match of 2014, after two defeats to the Springboks in South Africa five months ago, came six years to the day since Wales defeated Australia in Cardiff, a run of 22 consecutive defeats against the big three, and Gatland conceded he had a familiar feeling in the closing stages after seeing Wales throw away winning positions in three of their last four matches.

“They don’t make it easy on the coaches, I tell you that,” he added.

“I couldn’t watch the last couple of minutes. I was just watching it in the box on the television, standing up.”

The Kiwi also reiterated his point that the Wales coaching staff are pleased with the progress made ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“We’ve tried to communicate in this campaign that we’re looking at these matches as like World Cup camps in terms of preparing for that next year,” he said.

“That’s the focus we’ve had, and we’re very happy with how the whole autumn campaign transpired.

“We’ve pushed the three best teams in the world right to the end.

“In two games we were leading but couldn’t finish it off. Today we made it a little bit hard for ourselves again, but we deserved to win it.”

Wales’ next outing will see them go up against bitter rivals, and Rugby World Cup pool-stage opponents, England at the Millennium Stadium in the opening match of the 2015 Six Nations on Friday 6 February.

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