Warren Gatland believes Wales can build with confidence towards next year’s World Cup, despite their latest defeat to a southern hemisphere giant.
Wales had been on course for a first ever win over South Africa on Springbok soil when they led 30-24 late on in the second Test in Nelspruit.
But their hopes were dashed when an illegal challenge by Scarlets full-back Liam Williams on Cornal Hendricks resulted in a penalty try, which Morne Steyn converted to give the hosts a 31-30 victory and a 2-0 Test series success.
However, despite that disappointment, Gatland feels that the second-Test performance shows that his men can compete with the best.
“We know on the day, if we get the bounce of the ball and a couple of things go our way, we are good enough to compete with the top teams in the world,” said the Wales coach.
“We are probably a little bit off New Zealand at the moment, but we have demonstrated with South Africa and Australia in the last couple of years, it’s just a case of getting over the line.
“It’s just making sure that you get that elusive victory over a southern hemisphere team and then mentally it just changes that whole focus.”
Meanwhile, the Scotland coach Vern Cotter was a happier man following a 21-19 win over Argentina in Cordoba, with a penalty in the closing stages from Duncan Weir clinching victory.
“There is a big difference between losing by a couple of points and winning by a couple of points,” he said.
“There were some very positive things in this display, though, the lineout, the scrum, even launching the play off the set phase.
“We will keep our feet on the ground, we know next week [against South Africa] is going to be harder.”
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