Welsh expect brutal Bok battle

2013-11-05 16:00
Shaun Edwards (Getty Images)

Cardiff - Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has predicted this weekend's Test against South Africa will be "no place for the faint-hearted".

Saturday's match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, Wales's opening fixture of the November programme, will be the first time the two countries have met since the Springboks edged a 2011 World Cup pool game in Wellington 17-16.

Wales, however, went on to reach the semi-finals and take successive Six Nations titles.

Yet the fact remains Wales have beaten South Africa just once in 26 internationals stretching back 107 years.

"If you like your rugby as gladiatorial, then get a ticket for Saturday because this will be no place for the faint-hearted," Edwards said. "We have to muscle up against these boys."

Edwards added: "South Africa are also a skilful team as well and they are not just based on power, which they proved by scoring four tries against the All Blacks last time they played. They play with a lot of width as well, so they have a lot of options.

"Probably the best team I have ever coached against was the South African team of 2009, although there have been some great New Zealand sides. That South African team beat New Zealand three times in the same season.

"This is the best Springboks team since then, and (coach) Heyneke Meyer has done a great job. We know what we are going up against."

Recalling the South Africa-Wales World Cup clash, Edwards said: "I watched it the other day. It just shows the small margins at elite level sport.

"We have had some close calls with South Africa over the years and there has only been a few lapses of concentration that have stopped us winning."

Meanwhile, Meyer indicated he wanted the Millennium's retractable roof left open - both coaches must agree to have it closed - in a bid to get his side acclimatised to the conditions they can expect come the 2015 World Cup in England.

"We need to adapt with the World Cup being held in England in 2015," he said.

"I have always said that there is no bad weather, only soft people, so we have to have the right mindset. Once we start worrying about the conditions or the roof, we are in the wrong mindset.

"I actually want it to rain this week because that is what we will face in the World Cup. The more the better.

"The team has to be mentally tough to play in all conditions, and the worse they are this tour then the better for us," added Meyer, who guided the Springboks to second place in the recent Rugby Championship behind world champions New Zealand.

"I do not believe in preparing players indoors and having a cushy week in the warm.

"You should train in exactly the same conditions you are going to play in, and if any of the guys show they are not mentally tough, they will not be here for the World Cup. I will probably be disappointed if it is sunny on Saturday."

Read more on:    springboks  |  shaun edwards  |  rugby

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