Reaction: Springboks ease to victory over Wales
November 24, 2007

Davies happy to hand over the Welsh reins

Caretaker coach Nigel Davies believes he will be handing over a Wales team to Warren Gatland next month that is full of potential despite the 34-12 defeat at the hands of world champions South Africa at the Millennium Stadium.

A young Wales side went down five tries to two but Davies admitted he was proud of his side's efforts against a streetwise Springboks outfit, who lifted the Prince William Cup.

"What we have seen this afternoon is passion, endeavour and effort from Wales. I was hugely proud of how the boys went about their business,'' he said.

"We showed a bit of a lack of ability to finish chances off from the number of line breaks we created.

"This is a good team going forward and some of the performances like Morgan Stoddart, who put his hand up and showed what he could do, and Robin Sowden-Taylor, Gavin Henson, Gethin Jenkins and Jonathan Thomas.

"It was a good effort but we aren't clinical at this stage. We have laid the foundation.

"We need to go forward as a nation. If you look at the game, we were in it but defensively we have to step up a couple of notches.

"This is the end of an era and the start of another and this is the basis of a good team going forward.

"We can't accept mediocrity and we won't. In general terms I cannot fault the passion or the commitment.

"The Springboks showed how clinical they are as a team and their ability to play without the ball.''

With Gatland now ready to take over Davies' faces an uncertain future.

"I haven't given it much thought but I will now. I haven't got much to say on the subject,'' he said.

Gethin Jenkins said that despite defeat he was pleased with his first game as Wales skipper.

"I'd like to carry on as captain. It was a good experience for me,'' he said.

South Africa skipper John Smit dedicated his side's 34-12 win over Wales in Cardiff to their World Cup-winning coach Jake White, who bows out after four years in charge.

The Springbok hooker said: "The biggest thing to gain out of this game was to send off Jake White after what he has given us. It's never been about one person but I think tonight was.

"It was about the group of players saying goodbye in the best possible way.''

Smit said he was pleased with the attitude of his players.

"I joined up with the boys a few days later and it looked as if we hadn't left Paris,'' he added.

"The training was slick and the camaraderie was a good as ever.

"There were times when I thought the guys were a bit too relaxed this week but it was a quiet confidence that I had walked into.

"It took very little from me this week (as captain). The guys were as motivated and ready as I have seen them for any Test match. The guys wanted to play this game.''

On his side's display Smit admitted: "We did let our foot of the gas at 29-5 up which was unforgivable.''

White admitted: "It was a nice way to bow out. To get a win like that is really the way you want to bow out.

"The most important aspect was the way we attacked and the way we executed the things we have been trying for a while.

"It was quite amazing how simple it looked. At times we scored tries with two or three guys running next to the ball.''

On the Welsh performance White said: "You can't judge the Welsh on that performance. To be fair you make so many changes. It was always going to be difficult for the Welsh. They have a caretaker coach and they know that a new coach is coming.

"They know they probably let everyone down. They tried as hard as they could but at times probably tries too hard.''

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