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Wales players need no extra motivation against South Africa – Gatland

Wales players need no extra motivation against South Africa – Gatland
© Reuters
Wales are closing in on best set of autumn results as they chase a fourth win in succession.

Warren Gatland says his Wales players are "very well aware" of their potential to make history on Saturday.

Victory over South Africa at the Principality Stadium would give Wales a first four-from-four autumn Tests clean sweep.

They won three out of four in 2002 and 2016, but have never previously ended their November schedule with a 100 per cent record.

But after beating Scotland, Australia and Tonga, Wales can sweep the board by beating South Africa for a fifth time in the countries' last six meetings.

"They are pretty aware of it," Wales head coach Gatland said.

"It's like a finals situation. It makes the coaches' job easy. They know they can do something special.

"It is like when you play the last game of a Six Nations for a Grand Slam. There is no lack of motivation for that.

"It hasn't been done before, and a clean sweep in the autumn would be pretty special. They are very well aware of what that means, and the consequences for us as a team going forwards."

Wales have only lost twice this year – to England and Ireland – while a win against the Springboks would make it nine successive victories for the first time since 1999.

And a sense of achievement is not lost on centre Jonathan Davies, the 2017 British and Irish Lions player of the series against New Zealand, who will be key to Welsh hopes this weekend.

"This is an opportunity to do something we have never done before, and it's a big game," he said.

"We are playing one of the top teams in the world, we want to get the victory, and there is a good buzz to us in training. There is expectancy on us to go out there and get a result.

"Potentially, we are going under the radar, but we are concentrating on what we need to execute on the weekend.

"We work as a collective group to get those victories. If no-one talks about us, it doesn't really affect us. I don't think boys are crying out for attention – it doesn't bother us."

Wales have won nine of their 11 Tests this year and currently sit third in Test rugby's official world rankings.

And Gatland is also continuing to build notable squad strength in depth, highlighted by a number of players taking their opportunities this autumn and throughout summer appointments with South Africa and Argentina.

And Davies added: "The strength in depth is great at the moment.

"There is a lot of competition in training, there is no complacency. The squad is great to be a part of, and that is why we are having a fair bit of success at the moment.

"There is a lot expected of the squad these days, but we don't feel the pressure."


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Wales head coach Warren Gatland before the Six Nations match against Italy on  March 11, 2018
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