Damian de Allende says the Springbok attack has what it takes to breach the least pregnable defence at the 2015 World Cup, reports JON CARDINELLI in London.
The Boks won’t be losing any sleep over the Wales attack. The Dragons have crossed the line 11 times over the past four matches. Eight tries were scored against Uruguay, and two against Fiji. Wales managed just one try in the 160 minutes played against tier-one opposition (England and Australia).
The Wales defence, however, is a different story. Along with Australia and Ireland, Wales have conceded two tries in four matches, the fewest in the tournament.
Earlier this week, Bok defence coach John McFarland told SARugbymag.co.za that the Dragons’ line speed as well as their physicality in contact was key to their success. The Boks should expect more of the same at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Bok forwards are set for a big test, particularly at the lineout. Wales will also look to pressure the inexperienced 10-12-13 combination of Handré Pollard, De Allende and Jesse Kriel. The response of the trio will be telling.
‘Not to sound arrogant, but I don’t think we need to adjust our attacking tactics a great deal for this match,’ said De Allende. ‘We know what to expect from their defence. They come off the line very quickly. You have to adapt.
‘It’s the biggest game of my career, but I’m not the type of guy to be overwhelmed by the occasion,’ he added. ‘I’m not a guy who worries too much about the pressure and I know Handré and Jesse are similar.
'As a combination, we've come a long way over the past few months. There is room for improvement, but at the same time, we have built some momentum.’
Wales went into this tournament without star centre Jonathan Davies. Scott Williams then sustained a tournament-ending injury in the big Pool A clash against England.
George North was used at No 13 last week, but will revert to wing for the quarter-final. Coach Warren Gatland is expected to field a new midfield combination this Saturday, with Jamie Roberts pairing up with James Hook.
‘Jamie is one of Wales’ go-to men, a real world-class centre,’ said De Allende. ‘He’s known as a player who runs hard and straight, but he also has a lot of skill in the tackle.
'I grew up watching a guy like James Hook and have always admired what he can do on a rugby field. I’m looking forward to the challenge of facing these players.
‘We won’t get too hung up on individual battles, though. They have a lot of game-breakers in the backline, even though they’ve suffered a number of injuries. The guys that come in won’t be under as much pressure. There won’t be as much expectation on them to succeed. In a sense, that could work for them. They will have freedom to express themselves and that could make them dangerous.’
Wales will name their side to face the Boks at 1pm (SA time) on Thursday.
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images