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Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 18:00 UK

Tom Shanklin's column

Tom Shanklin
Tom Shanklin
Wales centre

Springbok star Gurthro Steenkamp is hauled down by Tom Shanklin during the first Test
Springbok star Gurthro Steenkamp is hauled down by Tom Shanklin during the first Test

Here's a promise to our fans - what happened in Bloemfontein won't happen again.

A few words from Shaun Edwards - and, of course, a few more from Warren Gatland - have helped get us in the mood for the second Test against South Africa in Pretoria.

Shaun Edwards pointed out that when we caught the same flight as the South Africans from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg, a lot of our boys had cut faces, black eyes and broken noses.

And the Springboks? They all came out of the game squeaky clean.

We just looked as if we'd been beaten up and it was a bit of a shock to the system, but as I've said, we won't let that happen twice.

It doesn't really matter where we play South Africa. We just want to play them again and the best thing about last weekend's result is that we get to play them seven days later.

Everyone came off the pitch knowing the only positive thought we had is that we are playing them again and we want to go out with a bang.

I have a new midfield partner in Jamie Roberts, a player who could be a success anywhere on the park - he could probably be in the pack, the size of him.

He's got everything. He runs hard, tackles hard, is a big lump and has good passing and kicking ability.

Those are all the attributes you want of a 12. He's played brilliantly all season and is a guy who's so big, strong and fast that you need him in the game a lot and I think that's why he's been picked at 12.

You need big guys and big hitters in the game more and that's the reason he's playing at number 12.

He and I have a specific task and we will do all in our power to do it. Warren didn't mince his words and he had a right not to.

He identified Adrian Jacobs and Jean de Villiers as dominating the midfield and we have to make sure that doesn't happen and that we have to do everything better.

We have to run harder and tackle harder and that's the physical battle we lost out on last weekend.

After saying he was embarrassed by our performance and saying some of the players looked like rabbits caught in the headlights, Warren's verdict in private was as strong as people might imagine.

He's not the type of guy to keep it under wraps or to himself. He was pretty blunt and he's got the right to say it.

We all came off knowing what we'd done wrong and he was just saying it out loud and we were all disappointed.

When you come off the field after a defeat and are able to hold you head up high you know you've done a good job, but our heads were down and we knew we hadn't done a good job.

We had not represented ourselves or the Welsh jersey for what it should be and I think you're going to see a different side this time.

We have a lot of points to prove, not just to the fans and public, but ourselves.

Hopefully it's going to be about going out and fronting up and giving South Africa a shock to the system after the shock to ours.

We didn't expect to play like that or to lose by such a big margin, but that's behind us now and in the latter half of the week we've been focused on ourselves and putting in a good performance.

We hardly played last weekend. We performed at certain times, but there were a lot of handling errors and, recently, that's pretty uncommon for us.

We looked at quite a few opportunities we didn't take and they were there to be taken and the top sides nail those chances - and we didn't.

We have no intention of doing likewise on this occasion.

see also
South Africa v Wales (Sat)
13 Jun 08 |  Welsh
South Africa 43-17 Wales
07 Jun 08 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
31 Dec 07 |  Wales

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