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Springboks prop Ox Nché during the team's media conference at Palazzo Hotel in Montecasino. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEE WARREN
Springboks prop Ox Nché during the team's media conference at Palazzo Hotel in Montecasino. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEE WARREN

Springbok prop Ox Nché is expecting a brutal battle between the forwards in the first of three Tests against Wales at Loftus on Saturday.   

Nché, who reiterated the stance of coach Jacques Nienaber and assistant Deon Davids not to underestimate a desperate Welsh team, said they are preparing for a tough battle.

“It is an all-eight pack. If all our forwards pitch on the day, then we are definitely going to try and impose our presence on them,” he said as the Boks ramped up their preparations for the match.

The Boks have enjoyed success over Wales with wins in their past two meetings, but Nché said whoever is better prepared on the day will have a greater chance of winning the match.

“I don’t think that because you have one or two good performances against them that must make you think you will always do well against them. Who is more prepared and who pitches up on the day will probably be the best team on the day.”

Nché was supported on the importance of the forwards by Davids, who pointed out that set pieces are going to be crucial throughout the series.

“Set pieces are always important in Test matches because you want to have top quality delivery in order to get your attack going or to stop the momentum of the opposition.

“So scrums are going to be important and line-out mauls are also going to be important to ensure your delivery. Wales are a competitive side and if you look back at one of the games we played against them, they stayed in the fight right until the last minute. It is going to be a highly competitive game.”

Nché also reflected on his journey with the Springboks, who have other capable props such as Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Trevor Nyakane and, to a lesser extent, Ntuthuko Mchunu.

“I am a bit more aligned to the team in terms of what the coaches expect from me and I just have to focus on my job. There is nothing that can distract me any more because of the alignment with the team, and that is what gives me confidence.

“The fact that I know what coach Deon expects from me in the line-outs and I know what coach Jacques expects from me, that’s where I get my confidence from.”

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