Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber expects the Welsh players to grow an extra arm and leg when they face his revamped team in front of 75,000 adoring home fans at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.
After suffering a heavy 54-16 defeat to the All Blacks last week, the Welshmen are looking to salvage lost pride against SA.
With the Boks anxious to make a winning start to their three-match tour of the UK, the scene is set for a titanic battle between proud northern and southern hemisphere nations.
Asked about his team’s struggle in recent times to subdue Wales in Cardiff, Nienaber said: “That must go to the Welsh team and the fortress they have here in Cardiff. Since I have been involved with the Boks in 2018 the only game that we have beaten Wales was at the World Cup in Japan.
“Previously the last time we got a result here in Cardiff was in 2013. Other results were in the World Cups of 2015 and 2019.
“I think it is just a fortress for them. The atmosphere in the stadium is tremendous and I think the fans carry them and you grow an extra arm and a leg.
“I would have if this was my home ground. It [Wales] is a very proud country with a very proud team with a rich and strong rugby tradition.
“That is why it is so tough to beat Wales over here. They are a quality side with quality coaches. It is always a nice challenge for us as the Springboks to play them.”
Nienaber made four changes to his match-day squad that defeated the All Blacks, with Damian Willemse, Jesse Kriel and Herschel Jantjies in the starting line-up.
Willemse, who has 14 Test caps, will earn his fourth start in the green-and-gold when he runs out at fullback, while it will be Jantjies’s third Test in the No 9 jersey as he pairs up with Handré Pollard in the halfback combination. Kriel, who starts at right wing, will earn his 49th cap.
Willemse comes in for Willie le Roux in a rotational switch, and Jantjies takes over from Faf de Klerk, who was ruled out due to a hip flexor injury.
Kriel replaces Sbu Nkosi, who is yet to travel to the UK as he awaits the necessary paperwork.
Jantjies’s promotion to the starting line-up sees Cobus Reinach being drafted on to the replacements bench in the only change among the reserves.
Springbok team: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nché. Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff , 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn
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