GEORGE North has claimed Wales’ autumn series was a success despite his country achieving just a 50 per cent pass rate and all too familiar defeats to Rugby Championship big boys South Africa and Australia.
The 21-year-old giant wing crossed for two fine tries against the Wallabies but ended up a loser in the 30-26 classic at the Millennium Stadium.
This latest reverse to a SANZAR nation, to go with the 24-15 setback suffered to the Springboks four weeks ago, means Wales end another November without a scalp against a former Tri Nations giant.
North’s side beat their easier opponents over the last month by posting a record 40-6 triumph over Argentina before labouring to an unconvincing 17-7 success over Tonga.
So it’s two from four after the Wales management set a target of a trio of wins, the hosts again failing to take that big leap against the southern hemisphere’s finest despite dominating Europe’s flagship Six Nations tournament.
Speaking after Wales’ ninth successive defeat to Australia on the weekend, North, who has now scored 15 tries in 35 Tests for his country, said: “We’ve been here a few too many times.
“We put up a good fight, but we’ve gone down in the end. The boys are disappointed. It was a roller-coaster ride for us. But we are competing better now and pushed them to the end.”
“To play a team like Australia you can’t give them anything and they showed that. But I do think these autumn matches have been quite successful for Wales.”
The Northampton Saints man added: “We set out to get three or four wins but we came up short. It is just that one per cent to finish off – but we’ll get there.”
Meanwhile Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen praised man of the match Quade Cooper for his outstanding display at outside-half as Australia ended their 2013 on a high after losing their Test series with the British and Irish Lions and struggling to compete with New Zealand and South Africa in the Rugby Championship.
"I thought Quadey was outstanding," Mowen said after his side ended their European tour with their fourth straight win after kicking if off with a defeat to England at Twickenham.
"Not many people can execute that in touch-footy in the backyard, let alone at the Millennium in those sorts of circumstances. You can't say enough about what sort of bloke Quade is and what contribution he's made in the last the period and the growth he's shown. “He's turned into an outstanding leader and when he's performing, generally the team's performing very well.”