Boks prepare to take on the 'silent assassin'
NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus described Wales as a ‘silent assassin’ heading into next year’s World Cup in Japan.
The Boks finish their four-match tour on Saturday when they face the Welsh at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, a venue where the South Africans have not won since 2013.
Since losing by a single point to England at Twickenham in their tour opener, the Springboks have managed to beat France in Paris and Scotland in Edinburgh in their subsequent Tests.
However, Erasmus said Wales will be his team’s “most difficult opponent” of their November Tour.
The Bok coach also believes Warren Gatland’s team will be a force at next year’s World Cup.
“I think the World Cup is going to be an open race next year,” Erasmus told reporters in Cardiff.
“Obviously the clear favourites are New Zealand and Ireland, but Wales are one of those teams who is hovering around.
“They are almost the silent assassin at this stage after winning eight in a row. They for me are the team that’s slowly building depth as well.
Erasmus was very clear on the challenge that awaits his Springbok side on Saturday.
“Warren [Gatland] has managed to build a superb side with lots of experience, and they are playing a good, balanced game, plus they have good depth and quality in their squad.
“They put Tonga away last weekend and the previous week they defeated Australia, so we are preparing ourselves for the most difficult Test of this tour,” he added.
Erasmus revealed that Eben Etzebeth, the most experienced member of the tour squad, will be assessed on Tuesday to prove his fitness in order for him to be considered for selection.
“Last week I said it was a 50/50 [for him to be ready], I’m a little bit more optimistic this week,” said Erasmus.
Meanwhile, World Rugby announced that Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has received a Citing Commissioner Warning for an incident that happened in the 31st minute of the Test against Scotland on Saturday at Murrayfield.
Erasmus said it was a good thing to know the outcome so early in the week: “He’s our captain and to have him available from the beginning of the week is good because sometimes these things can take a while as they look for clarity.”