Wales can go to another level claims Howley

Wales coach Rob Howley claimed that his side were capable of going to another level in the wake of their 27-13 win over South Africa in Cardiff.

Second-half tries from Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric, along with 17 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny sealed a deserved third victory of the November international series for the hosts and their biggest ever against the Springboks. 

But while clearly delighted with the result, Howley believes that his charges have plenty of improvement left in them.

"I thought we were comfortable," he said. "We were able to stress South Africa more times than they were able to stress us.

"But there is another level in us. We beat South Africa quite comfortably. At 20-6, we don't make it easy for ourselves. We never have and we never will. That's the challenge. We were probably two tries short out there.

"But the players deserve that win. It was in a manner which was comfortable and we were clinical, particularly at yellow-card time [Faf de Klerk was sent to the sin-bin after 42 minutes]. We gave a couple of penalties away which put us on the back foot, but my overriding emotion is I'm really pleased for the players."

Howley was widely criticised following Wales' unconvincing victories over Argentina and Japan and heavy defeat to Australia earlier this month.

But he claimed to have enjoyed the November series and insisted that he regarded it as an overall success.

"I don't tend to read or listen to anything like that," he said. "It's that internal and external perception we all talk about. The internal perception is that we are a very good team. I think we showed that today.

"All the white noise and all that, we just concentrate on performing and trying to be the best that we can as coaches and players on a Saturday. I thought we achieved that today.

"I'm delighted. We set a goal of bettering our 70 per cent home record. Three wins out of four is 75 per cent if my maths is right, so we bettered it. We have beaten South Africa for only the third time, by a record margin.

"We will take it. But we play England and Ireland at home in the Six Nations and that's where we need to go to the next level. That's what we spoke about in the changing room afterwards."

One sour note for Wales was the loss of Dan Lydiate to a knee injury just before half-time and Howley confirmed that there is serious concern about the Ospreys flanker who was winning his 60th Test cap.

"We will wait and see what the medics say," he said. "But it doesn't look too good at this moment in time."

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