Bok coach Nienaber expecting physical challenge from Wales

10 June 2022 - 13:18
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting a tough encounter against Wales.
Image: Kieran McManus/Shutterstock/BackpagePix Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting a tough encounter against Wales.

Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting Wales to bring a physical challenge for their three-match Test series in Tshwane, Bloemfontein and Cape Town next month.

The Boks start the season against Wayne Pivac's struggling Wales side that finished fifth in the Six Nations with only one win and a first home defeat to Italy.

Things went from bad to worse as Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets failed to qualify for the playoffs of the United Rugby Championship (URC) or European knockout stages.

On the back of these poor performances by Wales and franchises, many people are saying it is going to be a walk in the park for the Boks, but Nienaber doesn’t want to be lulled into a false sense of security.

“If you look at our history and facts with Wales, I believe it is going to be a tightly contested series,” said Nienaber as the Boks began preparations with a training camp in Tshwane.

“During the end of year tour last year, I think it was the first time we pulled off a victory in Wales for quite some time. If you look at our past outings since I have been with the Boks in 2018, we lost in Washington.

“We lost the end of year tour and we got a victory in the World Cup semi-final and it was a penalty that was the difference. Wales will be a tough one, especially for us, because they know how we play and know how they play, it is always an arm wrestle against them.”

Nienaber added that he expected physical intensity from a well-coached side coming to SA looking to protect their pride.

“What I can tell you about Wales is that they always bring a physical challenge, their set pieces are always well-coached, defence of their set-pieces is always well-coached.

“They are tactically smart, they have a good kicking game and there are certain things you have to focus on. It is always a scrappy affair, it is always an arm wrestle.

“Since 2018, myself and Rassie, we got beaten in 2018 at the end of year tour with a 10 points margin between the two sides, but all the other games have been two or three points difference.

“But they will bring physicality, pride, they will be willing to take it to the gutters if they have to and they can open it up if they want to. .

“They will be well-prepared for us with their clubs not having made the playoffs of the URC.”


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