Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane

Bok prop Trevor Nyakane. Photo: Springboks website

Bok prop fired up for ‘personal’ battle

The Boks are preparing themselves for a physical onslaught from Wales as they get set to kick off their end-of-year tour in Cardiff.

Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane

Bok prop Trevor Nyakane. Photo: Springboks website

It’s been a rollercoaster season so far for the Boks, who claimed a famous 2-1 series win over the British & Irish Lions, before enduring three successive defeats in the Rugby Championship once they travelled to Australia.

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However, that competition finished with the Springboks proving to be fiercely competitive against the All Blacks.

After narrowly losing the first match up on the Gold Coast, the Boks bounced back to claim a thrilling 31-29 win.

The Boks now head into their end-of-year tour with a 60% win record for the year, and will face up to Wales for the first time since the two teams met at the semi-final stage of the 2019 World Cup.

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A handful of players in the Welsh side also faced the Boks in the Lions series, but Nyakane believes the Boks can expect a completely different challenge fuelled with a fresh mindset in Cardiff, where they last defeated the Welsh in 2013.

“Each time two nations play it will be personal, even if some of the players didn’t play in the Lions series,” said Nyakane. “Wales will bring the same energy and physicality and go just as hard at us as they always do.

“Obviously a lot of the players met each other earlier this year and there is an understanding of how each of us plays and what we bring to the party, but at Test level it doesn’t matter as both teams are playing for their countries and will give their best.

“Maybe (the Lions Series) is a motivation they’ll look at, but for us it is only about the green and gold jersey, representing South Africa and playing for the people at home. That is what drives us — that and the guy next to you on the field. We also play for each other.”

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Nyakane said set piece dominance would be vital in the clash – areas the Springboks pride themselves in – despite Wales missing a few of their most experienced forwards, such as Alun Wyn Jones, Ross Moriarty and Taulupe Faletau, due to injury.

“Wales are missing a few players, but Springbok rugby is always about aiming for set-piece dominance and physicality,” said Nyakane.

“We’ll always try and do that, it doesn’t matter who we play, and Saturday will be no exception.”

The experienced prop, however, said it would take an effective performance in all areas of the game to emerge victorious against the Six Nations champions.

“In international rugby one doesn’t get many opportunities to run the ball and score many tries,” said Nyakane.

“It’s going to be a hard forward battle and they also have physical backs, so it will come down to which team uses their opportunities the best.”

The match kicks off at 17h30 (19h30 SA time).