Earlier this week, the Springboks named a powerful side to take on Wales, with Salmaan Moerat and Elrigh Louw in line to make their Test debuts from the bench in Saturday’s opening Test at Loftus Versfeld.
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In his column for Sport24, former coach Nick Mallett weighed up the two teams, and said he could only see one outcome on Saturday.
In front of a packed house at Loftus, having played in front of no fans in the British & Irish Lions series, this is a massive game for South Africa to stamp their authority on this series.
I can see them starting the game in their traditional way by looking for penalties from set-pieces and turning the Welsh with their kicking.
Damian Willemse at fullback will be solid under the high ball, and they have a lot of leadership in the other kicking positions where Elton Jantjies has played a lot of Test match rugby, as has Faf de Klerk.
In the forwards, the Boks are stacked with World Cup and Lions series winners, and they will boast all the firepower that has made them the number one side in the world.
It will be a massive disappointment if South Africa don’t win this by 15 points. I think they should set out to dominate, and then, hopefully, they can get two scores away and start unleashing a bit of the attacking potential we have seen from our sides in the URC, because I think we’ll need that going forward against better teams.
It will be interesting to see if the Boks will be prepared to play that more enterprising rugby – counter-attacking, playing it quickly off lineouts, giving opportunities to the outside backs, etc – but I think that will only happen after their traditional strengths manufacture a comfortable lead.
South Africa has never lost to Wales at home, and even though they have beaten us outside of this country reasonably regularly recently, I don’t think that entirely reflects where we are with our rugby presently and where they are with theirs.
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Springboks team to face Wales in Pretoria:
15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 15 caps, 5pts (1t)
14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon) – 18 caps, 45pts (9t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 26 caps, 25 pts (5t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 58 caps, 35 pts (7t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 25 caps, 100 pts (20t)
10 – Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 44 caps, 326 pts (2t, 65c, 61p, 1d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Yokohama Canon Eagles) – 36 caps, 25pts (5t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 11 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 51 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 63 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Panasonic Wild Knights) – 56 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 97 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 46 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 48 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 9 caps, 0 pts
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 46 caps, 50 pts (10t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 59 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Wasps) – 31 caps, 0 pts
19 – Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) – uncapped
20 – Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped
21 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 19 caps, 5 pts (1t)
22 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 21 caps, 25pts (5t)
23 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 72 caps, 60 pts (12t)
Boks’ record against Wales:
Played 37, Won 30, Lost 6, Drawn 1, Points for 945, Points against 586, Tries scored 111, Tries conceded 48, Highest score 96, Biggest win 83 Points, Win % 81
- Cheslin Kolbe needs one try for his 10th try and 50
- Elton Jantjies is currently in fifth place of all-time Springbok scorers (326 points) and he needs 10 points to pass Bryan Habana (335 points) in fourth
- The Test match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday will be the 38th Test match between South Africa and Wales.
- The Springboks need to score 55 points for 1 000
- Saturday’s Test will only be the fourth Test match at Loftus Versfeld between the two countries.
- The three previous Tests’ scores were as follows: 1998 – SA 96, Wales13; 2004 – SA 53, Wales18; 2008 – SA 37, Wales 21. The average score is 62-17.
- There are 222 caps in the Boks’ backline with 381 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 342
- The average caps per player in the backline are 24, the forwards 42, while the players on the bench average 31.