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Wales flanker Justin Tipuric expects 'pumped up' South Africa in Cardiff

Published 23/11/2016

Wales flanker Justin Tipuric is braced for a powerful physical challenge from South Africa on Saturday
Wales flanker Justin Tipuric is braced for a powerful physical challenge from South Africa on Saturday

Wales flanker Justin Tipuric expects South Africa to be "pretty pumped up" for Saturday's clash at the Principality Stadium.

The Springboks have arrived in Cardiff for their final game of a dismal year that has seen them suffer seven defeats.

The sorry chapter includes a home loss to Ireland, an historic first defeat against Italy, a 37-point drubbing by England and a record home reversal against world champions New Zealand, while they were also beaten in Argentina.

Such a sequence has cranked up the pressure on head coach Allister Coetzee, while South African Rugby Union president Mark Alexander issued a strongly-worded statement immediately following defeat by Italy in Florence when he talked about "deeply worrying aspects of the performances" in 2016.

While Wales are seeking a third successive win against all opponents - albeit a week after substitute Sam Davies' drop-goal got them out of jail against Japan - they have only toppled South Africa twice in 31 previous meetings.

"It is a massive game against South Africa," Tipuric said. "They will be pretty pumped up this weekend.

"They are a wounded animal at the minute and are coming under a lot of pressure at home. They will be coming here and fighting for everything.

"There is pressure in any international game.

"If we win this weekend it will equal the most successful autumn campaign ever (for Wales), but it won't be easy. We know we have to go out there and perform."

If Tipuric is involved on Saturday, then he will be braced for South Africa's inevitable physical onslaught, which is unlikely to vary from their tried and tested script despite injuries sidelining key performers like Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw and possibly Willem Alberts.

"They look like they are trying to beef up the pack even more, which is hard to do when you are that big!" Tipuric added.

"Francois Louw was a big loss for them and (Marcell) Coetzee too, but they have some really good back-rowers in reserve."

Wales have come in for some fierce flak during an autumn campaign that began with them suffering a heaviest home defeat for 10 years when Australia triumphed 32-8, before narrow victories were achieved against Argentina and Japan, although the latter result posed way more questions than it provided answers.

"We are trying to get the ball a little bit wider, but it has to be at the right time and in the right areas," Tipuric said.

"It takes time. We have been used to a system for a long time now, and we're going through a process and trying to get everyone on the same page.

"Hopefully, it doesn't take much longer to get used to. We are getting there."

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