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‘Wales reached their targets,’ says head coach Howley

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Justin Tipuric scores fine try for Wales

Wales head coach Rob Howley insisted he is satisfied with Wales’ autumn international campaign.

Wales saw off South Africa by 27-13 to make it three wins out of four in the series for the first time since 2002.

“We targeted three or four games and we’ve reached our target,” said Howley.

“We are very pleased. The players have given everything, their training’s gone really well. It’s nice to transfer what we’ve done in training into the final game.”

Wales have faced criticism for their performances in the Autumn series but Howley had nothing but praise for his players.

“I’m just delighted for the players, The effort and attitude they have shown over the past five weeks has been brilliant.

“They’ve rounded it off with a good win today,” Howley told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

Howley admitted there had been a lack of discipline as Wales almost let South Africa back into the match.

“At 20-6 we were looking for the next score. Unfortunately we lacked discipline in the last 20 odd minutes,” Howley explained.

“We gave them field position. We gave them opportunities and when you give South Africa opportunities in your white zone, in the 22, they’ve got a great driving game.

“And we conceded that score which was disappointing, but overall I’m really pleased.”

After an autumn in which they were heavily criticised for a heavy defeat by Australia and narrow wins over Argentina and Japan, Howley wants Wales to rise to the “next level” in the 2017 Six Nations.

He said: “If everyone could see the hard work and endeavour and the attitude the players have given in terms of training over the last five weeks, we would win every game.

“The transfer from training, for whatever reason, has not been to the standard that we all expected. That was the challenge against South Africa.

“I thought we were comfortable and were able to stretch South Africa more times than they were able to stretch us.

“There is another level in us. I thought we beat South Africa quite comfortably.

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Wales coach Rob Howley was captain of Wales the last time they beat South Africa by such a wide margin

Howley himself had come under intense scrutiny for the quality of his side’s performances recently, but he shrugged off the personal criticism.

“I don’t read or listen to it, but I’ve got a fantastic media manager who tells me what’s out there,” added Howley.

“It is just about stickling to your systems and trusting in the bubble you are in.”

Reacting to South Africa’s latest defeat, head coach Allister Coetzee said: “First of all, I think it is a very difficult time for us as management, staff and players.

“I think we live in a country where results are important for the national team, and I am definitely not proud about the way the season has gone.

“But maybe in hindsight, if you look at this year, it’s not ideal, way below what is expected of the Springbok team – but hopefully the start of a greater time and place to get South African rugby back on track again.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38019700