Why have Wales managed to push South Africa during the Incoming Series, and what will prove the difference in the deciding Test at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow?
Cape Town – Why have Wales managed to push South Africa during the Incoming Series, and what will prove the difference in the deciding Test at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow?
If you consider how Wales’ Six Nations campaign went, with them losing at home to Italy just four months ago, compared to South Africa, who came into this Series as world champions and Lions Series winners, you wouldn’t have needed a bookie to let you in on where the money’s at.
The Springboks were the favourites by way more than a mile.
But looking at the first two Tests, there wasn’t that much daylight between the two sides, in fact, the Springboks found themselves a few steps behind Wales at times.
In the first Test, which was one that could have gone either way, the Boks edged Wayne Pivac’s team 32-29 in Pretoria, before Wales claimed a last-gasp 13-12 win in Bloemfontein last weekend.
In recent years, Wales have managed a four-match winning streak against the South Africans between 2016 and 2018. After that, the Boks then won three on the trot, before Wales came out on top in Bloemfontein.
So, with that in mind, it’s probably not fair to say that the Welsh haven’t been able to stay in it against the Boks, especially considering that the margins have mostly been relatively small.
Earlier this week, Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids spoke of Wales’ physicality and how they don’t back down in that department, not even against the Boks, while adding that it’s one of the factors that make them a tough opponent.
“They are prepared to go to dark places, they challenge you there,” the forwards coach said.
“Look at how they get stuck in at scrums and stop mauls – that is testament to their ability to get stuck in. We will have to impose ourselves for 80 minutes, and if we don’t do that, it will be difficult.
“You also have to be disciplined against them, and when you get opportunities, you have to take them, otherwise it will become difficult.”
That resolve in the physical exchanges was present in the first two Tests again, and while it’s certainly a contest to look forward to this weekend, it’s not the only one.
The aerial battle is also going to be crucial, especially considering Wales’ men out back and Dan Biggar at 10. And when it comes to box kicks, Boks fans will be hoping that Jaden Hendrikse replicates the Bloem performance that earned him another starting berth in the main game.
Fleet-footed superstar Cheslin Kolbe said on Wednesday that while they will be looking to run in some tries – unlike last week, when the Boks didn’t manage a single five pointer – he was quick to highlight that they’re going to have to put in the work and do their pack’s grind justice if they want to cross the whitewash.
That’s a fact, execution and solid decision-making are going to be vital, especially in the prime attacking zones.
The kind of errors that slipped in last week can’t be allowed again, and while it was an experimental team as opposed to this week’s regular big guns, the objective remains the same – cut out the mistakes and watch that discipline.
The Boks simply cannot let Wales beat them at their own game. Not again.
Also, they have dream players in that line-up, so hopefully we see them play, and when things don’t work out, let’s hope the Boks adapt.
After all, they have the personnel, so why not use them?