CJ warns Boks against 'wounded' Wales
INTERVIEW: Wales will arrive in South Africa in July as ‘underdogs’, but the Springboks will underestimate them at their own peril.
Former Baby Bok and Ireland Test star Christiaan Johan Stander cautioned the hosts against complacency in the mid-year encounters.
Wales, having suffered a rash of injuries, is coming off one of their worst Six Nations campaigns in years.
They won only one game, against Scotland in Round Two, and finished second from last in the tournament.
They also suffered the humiliation of being the only team to lose to Italy.
Stander said he will be attending at least one of the internationals in the three-Test series – which gets underway in Pretoria on July 2, followed by encounters in Bloemfontein and Cape Town on successive Saturdays.
“It is going to be a tough tour,” the now-retired Irish international said.
“They have a lot of injuries and rotate the squad quite a bit,” he added.
Not only is star loose forward Ross Moriarty sidelined as a result of knee surgery, his Dragons and Wales colleague Aaron Wainwright are also ruled out of tour contention after suffering a fractured heel.
Other absentees include British and Irish Lions trio Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric, who are all sidelined because of long-term injuries.
While it will be a tall order for the Welsh, Stander said you never write them off.
“One thing I have learned about Wales, especially in the Six Nations, when the dog is wounded, that is when they get up.
“The first Test will probably be a win for the Springboks.
“Wales will regroup after that and build from there.
“You can never write off Wales, even with their injuries.
“They still have unbelievable players, while the coaching staff will look to get things aligned.”
Stander, 32, played for the Baby Boks and 50-odd games for the Bulls, before moving to Limerick in 2012.
Not only did he play more than 150 games for Munster, but also earned 50-odd Ireland caps and played for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand in 2017.