Forwards coach Robin McBryde says Wales’ tough World Cup campaign so far has made them more than ready to take on two-time champions South Africa in the quarter-finals.
The former Wales hooker said the team had learned from their failure to exploit a two-man advantage during their 15-6 defeat by Australia on Saturday.
The defeat left the Welsh second in Pool A and a date with the ‘Boks, winners of Pool B.
“They have an exceptionally strong set piece. We know what is ahead of us,” McBryde said.
“We are at a stage now where all the hard work was done in our preparations. We are getting battle-hardened now.
“We are getting into a rhythm up front and, hopefully, we can build on our performances so far. We want to be battle-hardened, not battle-weary.”
The Welsh go into the Twickenham match on Saturday looking to improve their wretched record against southern hemisphere teams under Warren Gatland – just two wins in 29 games with the last a 12-6 victory over the Springboks in November.
“Their (South Africa’s) game against Samoa was a brutal encounter regarding the collisions,” said McBryde of the Pool B game that the Springboks won 46-6.
Several South Africans were injured, including captain Jean de Villiers whose Test career was ended by a fractured jaw.
McBryde, who won 37 caps before retiring from the game after having a disc removed from the top of his spine, said the game against Australia had shown Wales need to be more clinical.
“We have to learn so if we get opportunities, we have to take them,” McBryde said.
“We were left scratching our heads how we lost it in the end.
“Fair play to Australia. If you can’t score a try against a 13-man opposition, possibly you don’t deserve to win.
“If we continue to build on our performances, we will be in a much better place,” added the 45-year-old.
McBryde dismissed talk that Wales’ win last year gave them a psychological edge.
“I don’t think in the autumn they were at their strongest,” said McBryde.
“They are going to be a difficult prospect this weekend. They have strength in depth.”
South Africa topped their pool despite opening with a 34-32 loss to Japan – the greatest upset in the tournament’s history.
They went on to thump Samoa, Scotland and the United States.