Cape Town - It could have you choking on your biltong ... but my advice would be to keeping chewing, instead.
In stark statistical terms, the Springboks’ recent history against Wales - their World Cup semi-final opponents on Sunday - is notably the worst, when weighed up against all four “Home Nations” rugby powers.
Of the last half-dozen encounters with the red-jerseyed foes, the Boks have lost as many as five.
The record is a slightly more palatable 3/6 against both Ireland and England, while the Boks have a perfect 6/6 from most recent tussles against Scotland.
So you’d think collective South African gasps were in order over the prospect of tackling Wales in Yokohama.
Fortunately, stats can be deceptive: there are good reasons, I think, not to be coaxed into fearing there’s a major bogey swirling when it comes to these opponents.
For one thing, not one of those six clashes has been on South African soil, with four of them coming at probably the most vulnerable time of the annual Bok rugby roster: late November or even early December, in chilly Cardiff, when rugby legs are heavy for southern hemisphere players and “beach time” is imminent - a bit of a mental tease.
Of that quartet of encounters specifically at the formidable Millennium Stadium, two have been settled by a margin of less than one full score (12-6 in 2014, 24-22 in 2017), while the one at Washington DC barely constituted a Test match.
It was Rassie Erasmus’s rather soulless first match as head coach, in June last year, and both sides fielded highly experimental line-ups in Wales’s 22-20 win: the Boks, for example, will probably only start two players on Sunday who also ran on at the outset in the United States (Makazole Mapimpi and Pieter-Steph du Toit).
Remember also that the one Bok triumph in the period under scrutiny was also the most crucial of the six: the quarter-final of RWC 2015 at Twickenham, where they edged it 23-19 (they’re 2-0 from all RWC encounters).
No, whatever the strengths and weaknesses of both adversaries, Sunday’s semi will start from a pretty clean slate.
The Boks (28-6 overall against Wales) would be silly if they got too spooked by recent outcomes …
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