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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 March 2008, 11:52 GMT
Gatland wants Springboks' scalp
Wales celebrate their Grand Slam triumph
Wales aim to celebrate in similar style in South Africa in June
Grand Slam-winning Wales coach Warren Gatland says his team will go after the scalp of World Cup holders South Africa when they tour there in June.

Wales play Tests against the Springboks on 7 and 14 June and Gatland seems intent on taking his strongest squad rather than a shadow outfit.

"We've won the Grand Slam, but don't want to stop there," said Gatland.

"You've got to test yourself against the best teams in the world and South Africa are number one at the moment."

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Highlights: Wales' Six Nations campaign

Gatland says his players can make their mark on that tour if they continue to improve at the same rate.

"I honestly believe that this team over the next 12 months to two years will become a very good side, that will be difficult to beat and won't be afraid to play anyone. We've made a lot of progress in the last seven weeks," he said.

"These players have given more than we, as coaches, have asked of them and if they do that then that's all you can ask for really.

"They've improved from game to game, but we are still going to have to do a lot of hard work."

606: DEBATE

Try-scorer and man of the match against France on Saturday Martyn Williams also believes Wales must go to South Africa to seek success rather than treat the summer tour as a development process.

"We didn't handle going to the southern hemisphere well last time and we need to kick on," said Williams. "Most of the guys are in their prime four or five years ahead of them."

We need to kick on. Most of the guys are in their prime four or five years ahead
Martyn Williams

Defence coach Shaun Edwards added: "We go down to South Africa as champions of the northern hemisphere and with that comes a responsibility to give a good account of ourselves against the current world champions."

Lock Alun Wyn Jones hopes Gatland's honeymoon period will last until the 2011 World Cup.

The Osprey said: "Three years ago there were a few of us who had a Grand Slam with the Under-21s while a few of the senior guys had one.

"Three years on I've experienced it and hopefully it will be the tip of the iceberg for Wales.

"Sheer hard work was the basis of the Grand Slam. We showed that in defence in the middle 40.

Hopefully the honeymoon period will last four years until the next World Cup
Alun Wyn Jones

"It showed that the harder you work, you get the rewards. Hopefully the honeymoon period will last four years until the next World Cup.

"But for now we'll savour this and then the next time we meet up in the summer, depending on selection hopefully we can replicate some of the form we've had in this tournament."

Replacement fly-half Stephen Jones said: "It's a great feeling. It's amazing to think the World Cup and Six Nations has been in the same season. Those are the highs and lows of Welsh rugby, but at the moment it's certainly a high.

"A lot of hard work has brought this about. We've always believed we're a talented side. We've worked hard in training and the coaches have instilled a lot of self-belief.

It's a great statistic that we only conceded two tries in the Six Nations
Stephen Jones

"It's through the efforts we put in on the training park that we've had the reward, really.

"It's a great statistic that we only conceded two tries in the Six Nations and I'm sure all the boys are proud of that as I'm sure Shaun is.

"We had a great start at Twickenham, a great place to get our first victory. We gathered momentum and things snowballed after that.

"It was a joint effort between the coaches and players. They worked us hard and were been honest with us and we've tried to put 100 per cent into training and I'm just delighted we ended the tournament with a win."

Wales play the Springboks in Durban on Saturday, 7 June and in Pretoria a week later.



SEE ALSO
How Wales won the Grand Slam
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 29-12 France
15 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Six Nations photos
15 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
07 Aug 07 |  Wales
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment


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