Boks flex their muscles ahead of tour opener
South Africa are expected to use the physicality of their powerful forward pack to subdue Wales in the opening match of their year-end tour.
Veteran Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane said while they won’t take the under-par Welsh pack lightly, they will use any advantage they can gain from the set pieces.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s showdown in Cardiff, he said the set pieces will play a key role.
He also touched on the significant number of British and Irish Lions players in the Welsh squad.
“Every time two nations play it will be personal,” the burly front row forward said, adding: “Even if we didn’t face some of them in the British and Irish Lions series and they will face us for the first time, they will bring the same energy.
“Wales will bring the same physicality and go just as hard at us as they always do.”
He admitted the B&I Lions series will add some spice to Saturday’s Test.
“Obviously we [the players] met each other earlier this year,” he said of the Boks’ two-one series win, adding: “There is an understanding of how each other play and carries themselves on the field.
“On the international stage, it doesn’t matter who you are playing or whether you have faced them before.
“It will always be tough and they will give their all.
“We are all representing our countries and give it our best.”
Nyakane said he was unsure if their will look at the B&I Lions series as motivation.
“For us, it is only about playing in the Green and Gold jersey, representing South Africa and playing for the people at home.
“That is motivation enough for us and to do it for the guy next to you on the field.
“We also play for each other.”
Nyakane, 32, started five of his 51 Tests at loosehead and the same number at tighthead. The other 41 he played off the bench.
While he has played mostly tighthead at domestic level for the last few years, he still enjoys scrumming down in the No.1 jersey.
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“I am a tighthead and I enjoy the position,” he told a virtual media briefing, adding: “It is all about the team – if the coach wants me at loosehead or tighthead, I am happy to do it.”
In the absence of key forwards, it has been suggested the Welsh pack is vulnerable to the powerful Bok pack.
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will miss the remainder of the year-end Tests with a shoulder injury that needs surgery, which may sideline him for “months”, the Welsh Rugby Union said.
Both Jones and flank Ross Moriarty will require operations after they each suffered shoulder injuries in Wales’ humiliating 16-54 loss to New Zealand in Cardiff last weekend.
The WRU also added No.8 Taulupe Faletau had been released from the squad because of an ankle injury suffered during training at Bath, his English club.
“Springbok rugby is always about set-piece dominance and physicality,” Nyakane said, adding: “In the game we look to dominate the set pieces, no matter who we play.
“That is always a focal point for us, to dominate those aspects.
“However, they are a quality side.
“It does not matter how many players have been ruled out, those that come in will bring it.
“It won’t get any easier. They would have selected the right replacements and it will be tough.
“It won’t be a walk in the park.
“They will rectify what they feel they did wrong [in Te loss to the All Blacks last week].
“However, we must focus on what we are good at and what we can bring at set-piece time.
“If the opportunity presents itself to get the upper hand we will go for it.”