The South African national rugby team has been in Paris, France for a week now, preparing for the end-of-year tour to Wales, Scotland and England. The Springboks beat those three nations collectively when they formed three-quarters of the British and Irish Lions this year. Now it’s time to meet the nations individually, each of which has a score to settle with the Boks. First up will be the Welsh in Cardiff next Saturday.
After ending the Rugby Championship on a high, by beating the All Blacks, the Boks now turn their attention to the Northern Hemisphere. Matches against Scotland and England await, but first, it will be Six Nations champions, Wales, next weekend. First, however, Wales take on New Zealand on Saturday, and the Boks will be very interested spectators.
“It will be a bonus on our side just to watch their game, keep an eye on it and see how the All Blacks play against the Welsh side. It’s two quality sides playing against each other so it will definitely benefit us as a team to be able to analyse them better,” says Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi.
Crunch world cup fixtures against the Welsh will be fresh in the memory of this Bok side, there was that quarter-final win in 2015 and the semi-final win in 2019. However, when it comes to playing in Cardiff, the Boks last won at the Principality stadium in 2013. They’ve endured four end-of-year tour losses since then.
“Our record in Cardiff hasn’t been one of the best I know. We beat them in the World Cup but playing them at home, they are totally a different side. They will always be tough to beat, they are a team that doesn’t go away. They also have a good aerial game. Their forwards are quite tough and they have a good backline,” Mbonambi explains.
The Boks are also gearing up to face a fair few British and Irish Lions in Cardiff. Wales supplied 12 players in the squad, many of whom were team leaders.
“Definitely they will be hurting because of the British and Irish Lion’s tour we actually had their team up and we saw how many Lions’ players are in that team, are in that forward pack, so we are definitely expecting a massive sting from their side. They will definitely bring the heat,” Mbonambi added.
The Springboks will strike camp in Paris on Sunday and move on to Cardiff for test week against the Welsh.