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Wales v South Africa - Talking Points

Wales complete their 2016 autumn Test series on Saturday when they tackle South Africa at the Principality Stadium.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points heading into the 32nd meeting of a rivalry that stretches back 110 years.


Based on current evidence, the answer would have to be very poor. Defeat against Wales would make it a record eight losses in a calendar year, with the Springboks' tale of woe including them being beaten by Italy last Saturday, in addition to receiving a 37-point drubbing by England, losing to Argentina and suffering a record home reversal to world champions New Zealand. Under-pressure head coach Allister Coetzee has reacted to the Italy result by making wholesale changes, but many pundits believe this is arguably the worst Springboks side in history. From Wales' perspective, are they there for the taking?


Some say that Saturday's encounter is a "lose, lose" scenario for Wales boss Rob Howley. If Wales win, it will be claimed by critics that it was only against a dismal South Africa team, and if they lose, then the post-mortem could prove a detailed and lengthy one. Wales opened their autumn series with a crushing defeat against Australia, which they followed by posting narrow victories over Argentina and Japan, while a win this weekend would make it their most successful autumn campaign since 2002. Interim head coach Howley clearly needs a good result, but a more consistent, convincing performance would also not go amiss.


When it comes to caps and experience, Saturday's game is a no-contest. Wales boast a total of more than 800 Test match appearances in their starting XV, with eight of the side having won 50 caps or more. In contrast, South Africa's line-up features just 260 caps, and only 40 of those have been collected by the Springboks' most inexperienced back division selected for a Test since 1994. While Wales have gone for proven performers, South Africa boss Coetzee has omitted seasoned world-class campaigners like Bryan Habana and Willie le Roux. It is an advantage that Wales must press home.

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