Wales feeling the pressure of closing gap on born-again Springboks

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first_img Read more Wales rugby union team Wales scrape win as Leigh Halfpenny penalty halts South Africa fightback features Autumn internationals Two years ago, South Africa lost to Italy in Rome. Willie le Roux was their full-back that day, as he has been this month after missing the opening match at Twickenham because his contract with Wasps prevented him from playing. “We have got our Springboks back,” he says when asked about the turnaround under Erasmus. “There was a stage when people did not fear us, but the structures he has put in place mean the guys are playing for each other more and we enjoy wearing the jersey.”South Africa are seeking their third victory of the tour after losing to England by a point in a match they largely dominated. Beating Wales used to be a given: the countries first played each other in 1906 and it was not until 93 years later that Wales recorded their first victory. Now, however, Warren Gatland is seeking a fourth successive success against the Springboks – at the end of an autumn when there has not been a perceptible gap between the hemispheres.Factoring out the weakest country in each of the Six Nations and Rugby Championship and the tally after the first three weeks of the autumn series is three victories each with Wales against South Africa and England’s encounter with Australia to come.The matches have all been close, with the biggest winning margin being the seven points Ireland bettered New Zealand by last weekend and if a 50% record does not appear significant for the north given home advantage and opponents at the end of their seasons, history says otherwise.Not one of the old Five Nations sides has a 50% record against New Zealand, South Africa or Australia. The only fixture that comes close is England and the Wallabies, with the latter two victories ahead. The overall percentage is 26.5, which is why there has been talk of a gap through the generations. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. A week after Rassie Erasmus’s final match in charge of Munster last year, South Africa played Ireland in Dublin and suffered their record defeat by a Celtic nation, 38-3. The second most successful team in the history of international rugby after New Zealand had gone from being feared to a laughing stock and then an object of pity within a decade of winning the World Cup.Erasmus’s subsequent remit after joining the Springboks, first as director of rugby then as head coach, was to restore self-respect, belief and confidence. His first match in charge was against Wales last June in the unlikely setting of Washington DC and ahead of South Africa’s final game of the year against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, the house of cards he started to construct then has been fortified rather than blown down. “I think the gap has closed,” says Gatland, the Wales head coach. “It is great for rugby and next year’s World Cup that we have eight or nine teams who are capable of beating anybody on their day. I am aghast that people are turning on New Zealand because they are, to me, still the best team in the world, but there could have been more northern hemisphere successes this month. There is pressure on us to perform on Saturday.”Erasmus agrees. “It is definitely much more even,” he says. “You do not know who is going to win every single match. The All Blacks can lose to Ireland, Ireland can lose to Wales and so on. Beating Wales would make the tour a relative success because we would like to have won all four, but it would mean we had won five of our last seven games and lost the others by a point or two. It would give us confidence but we have to be realistic about where we are. The graph is going up, but we are not close to where we must be if we are to be competitive in the World Cup.”When South Africa trudged off the pitch in Cardiff in December last year, few would have backed them to win in New Zealand 10 months later. “We have new coaches and structures and are a different team,” says the No 8 Duane Vermeulen. “We started from the bottom, got the basics right and are now working on some of the finer things.”The current captain, Siya Kolisi, who played that afternoon adds: “Rassie has made us realise that what is important is being a Springbok not an individual.”Erasmus has used 50 players this year, but eight of the forwards who will be involved against Wales featured in Dublin last year. “We have been consistent in our approach, which we had not been,” says one of them, the Bath back-rower Francois Louw. “A group of core players has been through it all and while we are not the finished product, there has been a massive improvement since we last played Wales.. It has been a tough journey.” Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news Topics Read more Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian Share on Twitter Rugby union Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp South Africa rugby team Warren Gatland Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share via Email Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

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Lloyds shares have fallen 25% in a month. Is this a buying opportunity?

first_img Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares See all posts by Edward Sheldon, CFA Lloyds shares have fallen 25% in a month. Is this a buying opportunity? Enter Your Email Address I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Image source: Getty Images. center_img Edward Sheldon owns shares in Lloyds Bank. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Lloyds Banking Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. In recent weeks, Lloyds Bank (LSE: LLOY) shares have plummeted due to the economic uncertainty associated with the coronavirus outbreak. In the space of just a month, Lloyds’ share price has fallen from around 57p to 43p, a decline of about 25%.After such a significant share price fall, many investors are likely to be wondering whether Lloyds shares are now a bargain. 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That marked five consecutive dividend increases since the bank reinstated its dividend in FY2014 – a decent achievement. The group said that it “faces the future with confidence”, and that it remains well placed to “deliver strong and sustainable returns for shareholders” going forward.It’s worth noting that City analysts currently expect earnings per share of 6.82p this year, along with a dividend payout of 3.5p per share (a yield of around 8% at the current share price), which would represent a 4% increase in the dividend.Coronavirus impactThe problem now, however, is that the implications of the coronavirus outbreak add a high level of uncertainty to the investment case.As a UK-focused bank, Lloyds is highly exposed to the fortunes of the UK economy, which in turn, is exposed to global activity. If the coronavirus results in a severe economic contraction, which it may well do, Lloyds profits are likely to take a further hit. This could impact the bank’s ability to grow its dividend and result in a further share price fall. This is a risk that shouldn’t be ignored. Many experts now believe that UK economic growth is likely to stall in the near term. For example, last week, analysts at Deutsche Bank halved their UK growth forecast for this year to just 0.5%, a post-Global Financial Crisis low, because of the outbreak.Lower interest rates (the Bank of England has today slashed its base rate from 0.75% to 0.25%) are another problem for Lloyds. This is due to the fact that rate cuts reduce banks’ net interest spread – the difference between borrowing and lending rates. Again, this is likely to impact Lloyds’ profits and potentially its dividends.Overall, the investment case for Lloyds now looks far riskier.Speculative buyThat said, the stock does now look cheap. Assuming zero earnings growth this year, the P/E ratio is 12.4. And if we plug in the consensus earnings forecast of 6.8p, the P/E ratio is just 6.4. All things considered, I see Lloyds as a more speculative buy right now. There are risks to the investment case, however, if you’re willing to hold the stock for a few years, I think there’s a chance you could be rewarded, given the stock’s low valuation. Edward Sheldon, CFA | Wednesday, 11th March, 2020 | More on: LLOY last_img

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