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Pieter-Steph du Toit has been ruled out of the Test match against Wales on Saturday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/DAVID ROGERS
Pieter-Steph du Toit has been ruled out of the Test match against Wales on Saturday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/DAVID ROGERS

Pieter-Steph du Toit has been ruled out of the first Test between the Springboks and Wales at Loftus on Saturday.

Briefing the media on the team’s preparations for the first of three Test matches on Monday, Bok assistant coach Deon Davids said Du Toit’s hugely anticipated return has been delayed by a week.

The team hope the rampaging loose-forward and 2019 World Rugby player of the year will be available for the second match in Bloemfontein on July 9.

“We have had some insightful discussions around team selection where we have looked at different things in terms of what we want to achieve in this first Test and who are going to be the right players and combinations that will give us a good result,” Davids said.

“Our focus is on those things and everyone is available besides Pieter-Steph du Toit who is still in rehab for this first Test. Other than that, we have looked at all the players who are available to see which are the best combinations for us going into this first Test match.”

Davids stuck to the script of head coach Jacques Nienaber by reiterating that Wales cannot be underestimated. The Boks take on the Welsh with the visitors under some pressure after their poor showing during the Six Nations.

For the past few weeks, Nienaber has been drumming in the message that Wales are desperate and dangerous despite their recent suspect form, and Davids agrees.

In the team’s media conference in the build-up to the match, Davids stressed some Welsh players were in the country with the British & Irish Lions last year.

“If you look at the Wales team closely you’ll see that they have experienced players. They have a lot of British & Irish Lions players with a lot of Test caps at the back and among their forwards.

“They also had about four weeks to prepare for this series because their local teams did not get to the knockout stages of the United Rugby Championship.

“They will be well prepared and in all the games we have played against them, including the World Cup and last year, it was always tight right until the end.

“They are desperate to change things around for themselves. We remind ourselves that a couple of years ago we were also desperate to change things around for ourselves.

“When you play against a team like that you have to be prepared, because you can’t underestimate any team at Test level. We expect Wales to show up and give us a tough game, but we are prepared for that.”

Davids said he did not see Wales struggling at altitude.

“Altitude will always be a factor for teams coming here, but teams have also evolved in terms of their scientific approach to be able to cope with that. Wales have also done a lot of research and they will be prepared.

“It will be tough, but I believe they will be conditioned enough to hang in there for the duration of the match to make it competitive and a good spectacle for the fans.”

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