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Although they suffered a 2-1 series defeat against the Springboks, Wales captain Dan Biggar is happy with his side’s overall level of play after their “hugely-positive” tour of South Africa.
Wales came into the series as overwhelming underdogs after a poor Six Nations campaign where they finished fifth and suffered a humiliating home defeat to bottom-placed Italy in their last match of that tournament.
Wales lost narrowly in their opening Test against the Springboks before sealing a 13-12 victory in the second Test – their first-ever triumph over the Boks in South Africa – and although they suffered a 30-14 defeat in Saturday’s series decider in Cape Town, they were competitive for long periods.
It sets them up nicely ahead of this year’s November Tests against New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Georgia in Cardiff.
“To get a win over here is a huge tick,” said Biggar.
“Overall, it has been a hugely-positive tour. From where we came from in the Six Nations, I don’t think anybody could have predicted how it went.
“We fell a little bit short (in the third Test) after a long season, but we have said this is the standard we need to get to now, not the Six Nations, where we fell off a little bit.
“We weren’t at the races for the first 15 minutes – South Africa started really strongly. Twelve months ago, we could have conceded three or four times, but the boys dug deep and we managed to get it back to 10-8.
“It showed a huge amount of character, and we are a resolute bunch. It will stand us in brilliant stead, and it has been a really positive campaign overall.
“When we look back on the tour, I think we will have some fond memories.”
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac received plenty of criticism after the Six Nations but his charges did well to return to form under his guidance.
Despite being without four injured British and Irish Lions in Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty, and also losing Tomas Francis and Alex Cuthbert to injury during the tour, Wales were competitive throughout.
“The tour itself has been fantastic, it was the first time we have toured together (since Pivac took charge in late 2019) because of Covid,” said Pivac.
“It has been really great, and the whole group – management and players – has pulled together really well.
“I think it just shows the environment that has been created. The players enjoy coming to work, enjoy rolling their sleeves up and enjoy each other’s company.
“That is important, because ultimately you go through some dark patches in Test matches and you have only got the bloke beside you to help you out. The boys have done that time and time again on this tour.”
Alun Wyn Jones showed his worth
Pivac also highlighted the importance of veteran second-row Alun Wyn Jones, who made three appearances off the replacements bench in South Africa.
When asked if the 37-year-old was in his World Cup plans, Pivac replied: “Yes, I think he answered that with his performance.
“”He is keen to continue while he is deemed to be good enough. We clearly deem him good enough.”
READ MORE: July international highlights: Springboks trounce Wales to seal series win
The article Dan Biggar: Wales captain takes positives from their tour of South Africa appeared first on Planetrugby.com.