Edwards wants Wales judged on Bok result

Rob Howley (Getty)
Rob Howley (Getty)

London - Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has urged the team's growing number of critics to wait until after the result of Saturday's match at home to South Africa before passing judgement on Rob Howley's regime.

Victory over the struggling Springboks would see Wales win three matches in a November series for the first time since 2002.

But with a convincing defeat by Australia followed by narrow wins over Argentina and Japan - the last secured by a drop-goal in the dying seconds from Sam Davies - questions have been asked over whether Wales know what game they are trying to play under Howley, in caretaker charge while Warren Gatland is seconded to the British and Irish Lions.

Wales great Barry John declared the present side to be a "mixed bag of total confusion" after the Japan game but Edwards said it was important that the coaching staff were not swayed by all the brickbats coming their way.

"You know when you are in this position as a national coach, you have to block everything out," said Edwards on Monday. "You continue doing your job, what you are trying to do.

"Rob has only been in one Six Nations (when Gatland was again on Lions duty ahead of the 2013 tour of Australia) and he has won it...He is an excellent coach with his attention to detail."

Wales have won just two and drawn one of their 31 previous Tests against South Africa but did emerge triumphant when the teams last met in Cardiff two years ago, with Leigh Halfpenny kicking four penalties in a 12-6 victory.

"The success or relative failure (of this November) will depend on whether we win on Saturday," Edwards said.

"It's been said in the past we've played Australia many times and lost by one point.

"We've played fantastic, but we've lost. It's all about winning and we've won two tight games.

"Have we played as well as wanted to on Saturday? No, we didn't."

The former Great Britain rugby league international added: "But we're going into a cup final this week against a team ranked higher than us and they've got what we want, which is that fourth ranked position.

"We've got to cut our errors and turnovers down. But if we tighten our game up, limit our turnovers and Leigh Halfpenny keeps kicking as well as he has done, I don't think we'll be too far away."

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