Rugby

More Welsh woe in SA: Guscott

2013-12-04 12:02
Jeremy Guscott (Gallo)

Cape Town – South Africa ought to kick off their 2014 international season with a comfortable mini-series victory over Wales, says former England and British and Irish Lions centre Jeremy Guscott.

Writing in his regular column on www.bbc.com, Guscott said this week the Springboks should only stretch their impressive record against the Scarlets (it currently stands at 25 wins and a draw from 27 encounters overall) in the June Test window clashes in Johannesburg and Mbombela.

He did give the Welsh some hope by suggesting the Six Nations champions have not peaked.

“I’m convinced of that ... there are too many match-winners in the team. (But) they have to improve their skill set and decision-making to win these games against the top three (New Zealand, South Africa and Australia) in the world.

“There’s still a big gap between New Zealand and South Africa and the rest, despite the close scorelines in the matches that New Zealand played against France, England and Ireland.

“The All Blacks demolished Ireland (last year) at home in their three matches and are likely to do the same to England next (UK) summer on current form. I also don’t see Wales having much joy in South Africa in 2014.

“England were the only team to beat a top-three southern hemisphere team (Australia at Twickenham) this autumn; I would pick New Zealand or South Africa to comfortably win a three-match series against any other opposition – that’s how big I believe the gulf in class is.”

The Boks beat next year’s first foes Wales 24-15 at the Millennium Stadium to open their recent unbeaten European tour.

Guscott picked only four northern hemisphere players in his combined team of the major internationals played in Europe over the past few weeks: six All Blacks cracked his nod although the only Boks he chose were Eben Etzebeth and Tendai Mtawarira.

South African fans might well quibble, though, with Guscott’s preference for French inside centre Wesley Fofana over Jean de Villiers, and England’s Dylan Hartley at hooker ahead of Bismarck du Plessis ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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