Wales are tough okes to beat, says Steven Kitshoff
Star prop is wary ahead of Boks’ big weekend showdown in Cardiff
Wales are a tough bunch of okes who will play for the full 80 minutes and give nothing away when they face the Springboks in Cardiff on Saturday, prop Steven Kitshoff says.
The Boks, who have one eye on going through their three-Test tour of the UK unbeaten, start their Autumn Nations Series campaign at the Principality Stadium. After the Wales showdown, the Boks face Scotland at Murrayfield and England at Twickenham on consecutive weekends.
“There will be a lot of scrum opportunities and I think Wales have a very tough bunch of okes that do not go away,” Kitshoff said.
“I think the set piece, in the northern hemisphere, will be a big part of the game, specially if the weather is not playing along and there is a lot of ball on the ground.
“They [Wales] play for 80 minutes and they have a lot of passion and pride, and they are really tough guys to beat physically. They also give everything in every confrontation.
“So I think when it comes to the set piece we will not change much in our preparation and how we do things. It is definitely a different ball game when you play in the north.
“Luckily enough a few years ago I had a big stint in France and then I also played with the Boks in Europe on tours.
“In the southern hemisphere, when you play in the Rugby Championship, it is a more free-flowing game. You can play off the top and in and out at scrum time,” Kitshoff said.
“But when it comes to the northern hemisphere games, it is long and tough scrums against big packs. So you really get tested mentally and physically in the northern hemisphere in a Test match.
“We have had a couple of days when the ball was quite wet at our training camp in Paris. The fields are muddy and the ball is a bit slippery, but we are starting to get used to the conditions.”
Kitshoff said as far as the game plan goes, the Boks know what style of rugby they want to play.
“I think when the ball is a bit wetter we can’t chuck it around much. We will try to go with the aerial contest style and try to win the ball back in that way.
“The weather will suit us, but it will also suit the northern hemisphere teams that are used to it.
“They have been playing in weather like this for years, so we know what to expect and we take these things into consideration at training.”
Kitshoff said the Boks were expecting the turf at the Principality Stadium to cut up.
“The field is a bit loose underfoot and it will tear up. We will go with that in mind in how we set up and attack at scrum time.
“The Boks can’t take the scrum too low because it will just collapse.
“We will make adjustments in our processes that will benefit our entire pack, and hopefully we will get the momentum and dominance we are looking for when it comes to the scrum battle,” he said.
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