Now for the Wallabies – Slam-winning Wales target Southern Hemisphere scalp
AS the hangovers clear, Wales start work on their next job – claiming the scalp of a southern hemisphere big gun.
Warren Gatland’s side proved themselves to be the best in the north by beating France 16-9 at the Millennium Stadium to toast a third Grand Slam in seven years.
But in June they take on Tri-Nations champions Australia on their own patch – the acid test for a burgeoning young side that has displayed an iron will to grind out victories.
Gatland’s reign has yielded just one win over the big three of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and that’s in 16 attempts.
Adding to that 2008 success against the Wallabies in Cardiff is essential to add credence to the debate about where the current crop rank alongside the Welsh greats of years gone by, a point acknowledged by the coach.
“It would be interesting to see the teams of the seventies if they were playing South Africa, Australia and New Zealand every year,” said Gatland.
“We are not at that level yet but our big aim is to be consistent in beating the southern hemisphere sides and we have a young enough side that over the next few years hopefully we can do that.
“We have been down in games during this tournament and we have learnt how to win ugly and in the past that may not have happened. We have accepted the tag of favourites which has not always sat well on our shoulders.
“For a young side they have coped incredibly well and I think it can be good for us as a team over the next two or three years.”
With the likes of Sam Warburton, George North, Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate and Jamie Roberts in the side there is the hope of something special brewing.
Confidence is sky high and the three-Test tour Down Under will be the yardstick.
Wales’ last win against a Tri-Nations side in the southern hemisphere was 1987’s World Cup win against Australia in New Zealand.
Claim another win against the Wallabies and the world will really sit up and take notice of Gatland’s young guns.