Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
23 Jun 2022
7:03 am

Springboks expecting a wounded and desperate Wales on incoming tour

Ross Roche

Since winning the Six Nations in March last year, Wales have been on a steady downward trajectory.

The Springboks celebrate their win over Wales on last years end of year tour. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

The Springboks are gearing up to face a wounded and desperate Welsh side during the three match incoming series kicking off in Pretoria next weekend.

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber likened the current Welsh side to the Springboks when he and Rassie Erasmus took over the reins back in 2018.

At that time the Boks had endured a dreadful couple of years under former coach Alistair Coetzee, and had suffered a humiliating 57-0 record loss against New Zealand during the 2017 Rugby Championship.

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Erasmus as head coach, along with Nienaber as defence coach, thus took over a desperate Bok side and took them to World Cup glory in under two years.

Wales have themselves endured a difficult year, since winning the Six Nations in March last year, they have been on a steady downward trajectory.

Since July last year Wales have won just four games, while losing seven and drawing one, with two of those wins coming against minnows Canada and Fiji, while the other two were by a point against Australia and by three points over Scotland.

They suffered a draw and loss against Argentina, while further losses were had against the All Blacks, the Springboks, Ireland, England and France.

Lowest point

Their lowest point however came in their last international match, against Italy in March this year when they were beaten 22-21 at home, which broke a 36-match losing streak in the Six Nations for Italy, and was Wales first ever home loss against them and first loss since 2007.

They have thus slipped to ninth on the World Rugby Rankings after ending the Six Nations second from bottom of the log and head into the Springbok series in dreadful form.

“I expect a desperate Welsh side, and not because of where they are and I can’t give an opinion on what’s going on in their camp. But we’ve been desperate before as the Springboks when we joined in 2018, so I know what that feels like,” explained Nienaber.

“I think that’s probably what we will face. A team that has been well prepared, they have had a lot of preparation time building into this series and I think they will be well coached and desperate.

“I am not saying desperate in a sense that they have to get a victory, but desperate in the sense that I know what it feels like (to be in the position they are currently in).”

The incoming series should be no better for Wales and they could walk away with a three-nil series loss, however if the Boks win the first two Tests in Pretoria and Bloemfontein as expected, they may look to experiment in the third Test in Cape Town which would give Wales their best chance.