Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Wales v South Africa - Talking Points

Published 25/11/2016

South Africa have dropped veteran winger Bryan Habana
South Africa have dropped veteran winger Bryan Habana

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.

HOW POOR ARE SOUTH AFRICA?

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?

WALES NEED A WIN - AND A PERFORMANCE

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.

WALES' VASTLY-GREATER EXPERIENCE SHOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph