Lions defence coach Shaun Edwards believes his Wales side have been the best of the Home Unions so far in this month’s internationals.
Edwards has seen his Grand Slam winners run both South Africa and New Zealand close and the man charged with keeping the Springboks defence at bay in seven months time feels his side have given the southern hemisphere giants their sternest test.
“I think the Wales performances have been the best of the northern hemisphere teams,” said Edwards, who will join Ian McGeechan, Warren Gatland and Rob Howley on the Lions coaching staff next summer.
"If you look to compare it to the other northern hemisphere performances you would have to say it would be a success because we’ve been the team that has pushed the southern hemisphere teams the closest.
"But we are not really comparing ourselves to teams in the northern hemisphere. We are comparing ourselves to our ambitions and we desperately want to get that victory."
Edwards hopes that that victory will arrive against Australia at the Millennium Stadium this Saturday in a game in which he admits Wales will be under pressure to perform.
"There’s a little bit of extra pressure but I think sometimes pressure brings the best out of you.
"It’s been quite a taxing period. The more times we play against teams at this level – and there’s no doubt this is a step up – the better you will equip yourselves in that intense atmosphere.
"We put in a very credible performance against New Zealand but we need to take the next step and that is to beat one of the southern hemisphere teams – we have an opportunity to do that on Saturday."