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Gatland pride and fury at Wales

Gatland 'furious' with Wales players

Wales coach Warren Gatland was left with the conflicting emotions of fury and pride after watching his side lose 20-15 to South Africa in Cardiff.

He said: "We had a chance to beat the world champions and we let ourselves down. That's a painful experience we went through.

But he added: "To be honest, I'm really proud of the performance."

Gatland was particularly frustrated at Wales' inability to convert numerous line-breaks into tries.

At the same time the hosts dominated much of contest only for the Springboks to show how clinical a top-tier team must be.

Interviews - Andy Powell and John Smit

"Good teams handle pressure and they convert situations into points and they've got to learn from that. We know we're not too far away," said Gatland.

"I just had a real crack at the players in the changing rooms and said that if we want to be where we think we can be, good teams nail big moments and we should be furious with that because we had a chance to beat the world champions and we let ourselves down."

Wales number eight Andy Powell gave a man-of-the-match performance on his Test debut but rued their mistakes in the 20-15 defeat.

With Canada the next opponents for Wales, before bigger challenges against New Zealand and Australia, Powell insists Wales are in shape to challenge the southern hemisphere rugby giants.

"We're not too far away at all," he added. "It's every Welshman's dream to put the red shirt on.

"We gave South Africa an early lead by giving stupid penalties away, but we came back hard in the second half and left it too late really.

"South Africa have got a great defence and a big pack - we broke them a few times but weren't clinical enough."

Smit admitted his team had given a faltering performance in the closing stages.

We knew it would be tough - de Villiers

Smit said: "We knew it was going to be a tough game," said the Sharks player, who packed down at tight-head prop instead of his usual position at hooker.

"We're happy with the result, it's good to get a win on the board.

"Wales have improved without doubt. The most impressive aspect was their defence. They stopped us from playing and it's certainly an aspect they have worked on.

"But we were waiting for the game to finish with 15 minutes to go. We made it more difficult for ourselves than we probably should have.

"When we took our foot of the pedal after the intercept try, I think we thought it was all going to happen for us.

"We went into the wrong frame of mind and defended what was a small lead and made hard work for ourselves.

"It's two tries to zero. Their defence was a frustration because a lot of the rugby we had trained for and prepared for we couldn't enact.

"Their defence was up and on the button and they didn't breach our line. It's three out of three for us this year (against Wales) so I'm pretty happy with that."

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see also
Great expectations weigh on Welsh
08 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 15-20 South Africa
08 Nov 08 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
27 Oct 08 |  Welsh

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