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Coetzee urges inexperienced South Africa to play without fear against Wales

Published 25/11/2016

Allister Coetzee has named a young and inexperienced South Africa side to face Wales
Allister Coetzee has named a young and inexperienced South Africa side to face Wales

South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee wants a young and inexperienced Springboks side to "play without fear" against Wales on Saturday.

Coetzee says he does not believe there is a gamble involved by fielding a team containing just 260 caps, with only 40 of those among a back division that features three Test match debutants.

The under-pressure Springboks boss has left out proven match-winners like Bryan Habana and Willie le Roux, with South Africa striving to avoid a record eighth defeat in 2016 as they tackle Wales just seven days after being humbled by Italy.

"It has been a terrible, tough year. But looking back, it is the right time to go this route and get something out of it," Coetzee said.

"The large number of players based overseas is a problem for us, and another 50 are leaving at the end of this year.

"We have to back players at home, and this is an indication, so players will have a look and say they would rather hang around and give themselves another shot at representing the Springboks.

"If players are based in South Africa, we have control over how they are managed. The overseas policy has not been cast in stone. We are still busy with it, and it will definitely be there in the next month or two.

"We have picked some exciting youngsters. They have been on tour with us and showing a lot of progress and enthusiasm and excitement. They have to play without fear and enjoy it.

"I am sure they will be there going forward and right up there in 2019 (World Cup). I feel it is the right time to give them Test match exposure.

"It is now time to back the youngsters. I do not see it as a gamble, but the right decision for the future of South African rugby. It is a good team."

While South Africa will go into the Principality Stadium clash as underdogs, they can at least take comfort from an outstanding record against Wales that has seen them win 28 of the previous 31 fixtures.

And while the Italy loss underlined how far South Africa have fallen, Coetzee does not believe there will be any hangover effect shown by the players this weekend.

"I could see in training on Tuesday that we had moved on," he added.

"We want to revive everything, and we have good rugby players in this group. They want to score tries and that is how we have prepared.

"We had opportunities against Italy, but it was almost as if a fear of failure made the players over-think and question whether they were taking the right option, but there is a different mindset this week.

"It is about achieving trust among each other. They have to go out with belief and perform, sticking to the plan and not trying to force things."

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