Wales v South Africa: Coach Rob Howley says criticism shows Welsh passion

Wales coach Rob Howley
Rob Howlery is in charge of Wales while Warren Gatland coaches the British and Irish Lions
Under Armour Series: Wales v South Africa
Venue: Principality Stadium Date: Saturday, 26 November Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Wales coach Rob Howley says public criticism of his team's performance in the 33-30 win over Japan underlines the passion for the game in the country.

Howley, 46, says "external" opinions do not influence the team or the coaches, but would not want the public's obsession to change.

"One thing about being Welsh is the passion we have and the opinions everyone has about the game," he said.

"We wouldn't want that to change and it hasn't changed in 20 or 30 years."

Wales needed a last-minute Sam Davies drop-goal to clinch a win against Japan with Howley admitting the performance did not match his own or public expectation.

A number of former players were highly critical of the display and there was more criticism on social media.

Wales face South Africa in the final match of the autumn series in Cardiff on Saturday.

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Rob Howley: Wales coach says team must earn right to play offloading game

"As a coach and as a player you learn through your successes and your failures and you learn more from your failures," Howley said.

"I haven't read or listened to anything over the past two or three weeks.

"From a coaches' perspective we always talk about internal and external perception and it's important from a player's perspective and our perspective that nothing changes our decision making.

"But the public opinion is a continuation of the passion and the opinion everyone has about the game in Wales and that's absolutely right."

Wales' 2016 autumn internationals
3 NovemberLost 8-32 to Australia
12 NovemberBeat Argentina 24-20
19 NovemberBeat Japan 33-30
26 NovemberSouth Africa

"The expectation against Japan - and we won the game - within the group as well was that it wasn't good enough.

"But hopefully we have an opportunity now in the next week against South Africa to put that right."

Pressure off South Africa

South Africa have drawn with the Barbarians and lost against England and Italy on their current tour and have made seven changes for the match against Wales.

Howley expects the Springboks to play an expansive game in Cardiff.

"I think there's less pressure on them, I think they'll come out and play," he said.

"I watched the game down in Florence and the weather wasn't great. And they will be a danger to us they'll come to play.

"They'll have watched Japan against us and Japan and as a back three we have to defend better than we did against Japan."

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