Welsh Rugby
Wales need one big win
PA Sport
November 9, 2008
Welsh captain Ryan Jones hands off a tackle during the match between Wales and South Africa at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on November 8, 2008.
Jones takes the attack to the Springboks' defence at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday © Getty Images

Wales captain Ryan Jones believes the Six Nations champions need a "watershed" victory that could take them to another level.

Jones and company have twice conquered Europe in four seasons, winning Six Nations titles and Grand Slams. But toppling the southern hemisphere super-powers during that period has proved beyond them, apart from a solitary victory against Australia three years ago.

The statistics have piled up - one win in 102 years against South Africa, no victories over New Zealand since 1953 and only one success in 20 years against Australia. Wales' 20-15 loss to world champions South Africa provided yet another example of what might have been - but with the All Blacks and Wallabies looming this month, redemption could be obtained.

"I think we are there; we just need to do one," said Jones, highlighting the urgency of Wales finally flooring a Tri-Nations heavyweight. "Once we've got one (victory), I think it is almost like a watershed in that it will bring that five per cent of belief and confidence to put you on a roll. Physically and skill-wise, we can compete with anyone in the world. We've shown that time and time again.

"It's just that little bit of belief, and I think it will come with that one victory. We are creating in games, and it was unlike us not to finish those line-breaks we made. We couldn't make South Africa pay. I think we are a team other teams don't like playing against.

"We are dangerous - and with a little more composure and taking our chances, we will go from being a good team to a great team. The frustrating thing was when that final whistle went, I thought we were the bigger, stronger, fitter team. I just wish we'd had an extra five minutes - and I believe we would have made it count."

James Hook's four penalties hauled Wales back into the contest after they trailed by 17 points, yet Wales' overriding post-match emotion could be summed up in two words - missed opportunity. Jones added: "We had talked about having courage, belief and endeavour - and I think we showed that.

"South Africa came out firing - they are the best team in the world - and a couple of things didn't go our way and we were 10 points down. We have to learn from these situations, that is the key. We can't afford to make this mistake again."

Canada, smashed 55-0 by Ireland yesterday, are next up for Wales next Friday night; then New Zealand arrive eight days later, followed by Australia. Wales head coach Warren Gatland will name his team for the Canada clash tomorrow, and it is likely to be a much-changed starting XV.

Centre Gavin Henson, who withdrew from facing the Springboks because of an Achilles problem, probably will not feature. But there should be chances for players like Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart and Cardiff Blues flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor, plus the Ospreys pair of fly-half Dan Biggar and hooker Richard Hibbard.

Gatland may also be tempted to give Blues number eight Andy Powell - Wales' man-of-the-match against South Africa - another run. Jones added: "Andy Powell did fantastically well. He has starred all season for the Blues - and he brought a lot to the game. He was great to play alongside. He got us on the front foot and created opportunities for others, which is what you need.

"The team is maturing now, and it is littered with individuals who are on top of their form - like Andy. It bodes well."

© Scrum.com

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