Durban - Wales appear to have a different view to the amount of rugby that the Springboks have played in the build-up to the two-match series that starts here on Saturday than the many South Africans who fear their team might be too battle weary following an exhausting Super Rugby season.
For Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde, the fact the Boks played a game against the World XV last week in order to enable players who had been involved in the high intensity Super Rugby competition a chance to gel is to the South African advantage going into Saturday’s opening test at Kings Park.
“I wouldn’t say they are battle weary, I would rather say they are battle hardened, which is a huge benefit,” McBryde told the supersport.com website.
“It is the reason that we recently played a trial match. We felt we needed to get the feel of some match intensity again as a team. The match that we have organised for Tuesday night against the Southern Kings also represents a similar opportunity, with some players doubtless using it as an opportunity to try and force their way into the test match team.”
McBryde has studied the Bok game against the World XV, and although he agreed that perhaps they didn’t make the rousing start to the season some might have hoped for, they got enough out of the game to feel confident and Wales are under no illusions about what they are up against.
“I think maybe the Boks were caught a bit cold at the start, but once they got into the game you could see what they are capable of. They went back to what they know, with driving lineouts and the aerial game, but it’s going to require a big step-up from us. They’re very experienced and know what works for them.
“They’re very confident in their scrum. It’s become a very contested part of the game, and it’s quite different in the southern hemisphere compared to the northern hemisphere. It is one area where we also have experience and hopefully we can use that to our advantage. Having said that, the Boks do have a juggernaut pack and they have added an extra player to add intensity in training.
“They are very smart up front, and the threat will come from their scrum and the driving maul, so we are going to have to be at our best in those areas.”