The Boks will also have a bit of a score to settle with Wales
There is seldom room for the faint-hearted in any game of rugby and boy oh boy, this will be even more so in Sunday’s World Cup semi-final clash between South Africa and Wales.
Wear your armour when you settle down in front of the TV, because this is going to be the battle of the behemoths up front, that much is clear.
The Springboks have always prided themselves on their physicality and their current pack is one of the most fearsome they have fielded for some time.
Just ask Japan. It was noticeable after about 30 minutes of last weekend’s quarter-final how gingerly some of the Japanese forwards were getting up from the collisions. It hurts like crazy to be tackled around the chest or the hips by a flying Bok forward. They breed them tough in the valleys of Wales, though, and they will be relishing the chance to slug it out at close quarters with the Boks.
Remarkably, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will be playing his 133rd game for his country and he is a warrior leader if ever there was one. Supporting him are real toughies like Ken Owens and Tomas Francis.
Which is not to say there isn’t great skill among the two sets of backlines. Jonathan Davies, for example, is sheer class at centre for Wales. It is sad that Cheslin Kolbe has had to pull out injured, but Bok centre Damian de Allende is having a cracker of a tournament.
The Boks will also have a bit of a score to settle with Wales.
They have lost four straight games to the Welsh and even if three of those four were in Cardiff and one in Washington, the Boks will be hard-pressed to reverse that trend.
But, in the end, this is a game that will be decided by the two packs. He who blinks first will be in big trouble. We, of course, respect the Welsh and their strong rugby history. But let’s warn them in as sporting a manner as possible: this Bok team is in no mood to blink …