Lions forwards coach Warren Gatland believes his Wales side have given the Lions a boost by proving that the Home Nations can compete with the giants of the southern hemisphere.
Having led the All Blacks at half-time last weekend and come within five points of Lions opponents South Africa on November 8, Gatland watched his team record an impressive 21-18 victory over Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“Someone had to carry the flag for the northern hemisphere, didn’t they?" Gatland laughed, after Wales recorded their first victory over one of the big three in 12 attempts.
“The best team won. We had played some really good rugby in the first half and I think we thoroughly deserved the win.”
The Welsh victory was the only Home Union triumph against the major touring sides this autumn, with England having lost to all three Tri Nations countries, Scotland falling short against both the Springboks and All Blacks, and Ireland being undone by New Zealand a fortnight ago.
Gatland was hugely disappointed after Wales missed a golden opportunity to beat South Africa at the beginning of the month but he was delighted to gain his first win over southern hemisphere opposition since taking charge of the Dragons earlier this year.
“I’m very proud of the performance. I think the result for us was the most important thing. We needed to get the win.
"With the great rugby we played in the first half, I thought we should have been further in front. We’re still not taking our chances but I think the best team won.
“I’m really proud of this month. I think we’ve learned a lot and grown a lot as a team and hopefully we can go on from here. We’re hopefully going to mature over the next couple of seasons into a pretty good side.”