Wales coach Warren Gatland says he is wary of a resurgent Springbok side ahead of their clash in Cardiff on Saturday.
The hosts go into the game having won four out of their last five games against the Boks and are currently on an eight-match winning streak. Wales are also aiming to secure a maiden November clean sweep having claimed the scalps of Scotland, Australia and Tonga.
However, the Boks want to end their season on a high and will have revenge on their minds, having already lost to Wales in Washington in June.
Speaking to the media in Cardiff, Gatland admitted that the visitors are a better side than they were last year.
‘They have reclaimed some of their old identity and what they’re about,’ Gatland said. ‘Physicality and a strong scrum, a driving lineout and strong ball-carriers. That’s why you always respect them for what they are. They have gone back to being tough and physical and have subtleties in the way they play.
‘We are expecting a very tough, physical encounter and the players are excited about it. It’s the end of a campaign, like a cup game. Winner takes all.’
Gatland has decided to back Gareth Anscombe at flyhalf for Saturday’s Test, with Liam Williams shifting from wing to fullback, but the New Zealander admitted it was an incredibly tough choice to make, with Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell also in the squad.
‘Gareth is starting to show some real maturity and we have been really pleased with him. We have decided to give him a run of games, but we could easily have given Dan a run of games and we have been really happy with Rhys Patchell’s contribution.
‘We have got three 10s, who we think are on top of their games and we could easily pick any one of them.
‘It’s tough, players are disappointed not to be involved. It’s a catch-22 situation, you reward a player who’s done quite well and taken his chance, but then you get the knock on the door from players who want to know why they have been dropped.
‘It is a nice position to be in, this competition, and the positive thing is it creates debate as well. Players are disappointed and I expect them to be, but they’ve responded well.’
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— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) November 20, 2018
Photo: Scott Taetsch/Gallo Images