Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
30 Jun 2022
11:40 am

‘Wales will be up for it’: Nienaber insists Boks must be at their best

Ross Roche

Nienaber has repeatedly insisted that the tourists remain a dangerous threat.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber (left) looks on during a Springbok training session. Picture: Gallo Images

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was once again full of praise for Wales, despite their recent struggles that saw them lose their last four games in a row and slip down to ninth in the World Rugby rankings.

With many writing off the challenge offered by Wales and expecting the Boks to claim a clean sweep, Nienaber has steadfastly stuck to his admiration for the tourists and insistence that they will not be underestimated.

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At the team announcement on Tuesday he was again at pains to explain why Wales remained a dangerous threat.

“I am impressed with Wales. I know people always say that I am trying to get the team to not listen to the media (hyping the Boks) but I can only go on reality. A big contingent of (last year’s) British and Irish Lions players were Welsh,” Nienaber said.

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“The reality is also that Wales have lost their last four games in the Six Nations, but they were by four points against France and four points against England at Twickenham and by just a point (against Italy).

“So they were within a try of winning all of those games and they can’t be written off. Wales is always a tough Test match for us and I think they have a well-balanced side. They have lots of experience, so they know what to do and they will be up for it.”

Ideal plans

Nienaber also admitted that in their ideal plans, they would be able to give their entire 42-man squad a run during the three-match incoming series, and that it was tough to whittle that down to a 23-man side for the first game.

“It was a tough team selection. There are a number of players who could have been included and it wouldn’t have weakened the team,” Nienaber said.

“If we can get Test match exposure to all 42 players (during this series) it would be awesome. If you ask what our platinum plan is, it will probably be that.

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“But there is a massive responsibility on the 23 guys who have been selected for this week to lay a foundation and make sure there is a positive performance, and if there isn’t we have to change our plans.”