Last week we brought you the Tom Shanklin column in the lead-up to the first test in Bloem. In a follow-up to that article Shanklin talks about the first test and their golas for the second… yip, that’s right, they’re still looking for that elusive respect…
This Wales team is now under no illusions just how gigantic the gulf between northern and southern hemisphere international rugby.
It was just unfortunate that the world was watching when we aided our own downfall against the most ruthless team on the international stage.
South Africa are the world champions and need no assistance, but nevertheless we gave them a hand in Bloemfontein.
We made an unbelievable amount of mistakes – we haven’t made that many cock-ups in a game since prior to our 2005 Grand Slam win.
The boys aren’t just disappointed with our inadequate performance in the first test, we’re so frustrated because we know we’re better than that. We’re fuming.
Much has been made of our pre-South Africa confidence but we truly did – and still do – believe that we’re now good enough both physically and mentally to match a team like the Springboks.
But how many times have I been here with Wales? Celebrated a special triumph such as the 2008 Grand Slam one minute, then suffered the heart-breaking defeat after a flat performance the next.
But the focus of Warren Gatland’s Wales is on ensuring a consistency of performance and results that is worthy of a top, top international team.
Welsh rugby’s annoying habit of leaping from peak to trough – and back again -of recent times has to end.
We were missing some big players like Martyn Williams, Mike Phillips, Gavin Henson, Dwayne Peel and Lee Byrne to name but a few yet we need to ensure a strength in depth so we can compete against the best.
We have the talent, we just must maintain the mentality and clinical efficiency every game as South Africa – a team also missing some big players – painfully showed us in Bloemfontein.
This squad is hurting for not doing ourselves justice on Saturday, now we must make amends in Saturday’s second Test Pretoria.
Yes we owe it to our fans, but more importantly we owe it to ourselves as a team.Tweet