Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko expects a tactical challenge from Wales when the two sides meet in the final of the U20 Six Nations Summer Series on Tuesday.
Following a thrilling 23-20 win for the Welsh over hosts Italy on Wednesday, next week’s decider will have the two unbeaten sides of the Summer Series going into battle in Treviso where an enthralling match is expected.
Wales’ dramatic win over an impressive Italy sealed first place in Pool B, with a late penalty goal from captain Joe Hawkins sending his team through to the tournament showpiece.
Nhleko said the Junior Boks will have to be at their best if they want to lift the trophy next week: “The way the Welsh dealt with the pressure in the face of such a huge onslaught from Italy, playing in front of their own fans in Treviso, was hugely impressive.
“It showed their character, and they will be a massive test for our boys. They’re a tactically astute team and have a senior Test international in their ranks, which demonstrates their pedigree.”
The South Africans beat England and Ireland in their first two games and then showed great fighting spirit to overcome France in an energy-sapping third Pool A fixture.
“We improved as the tournament progressed, and next Tuesday will be another opportunity for us as a group to show our potential and demonstrate how we have managed to grow as a team,” said Nhleko.
“Wales will bring a huge forward challenge, plus they have impressive pace and skill out wide, so it makes for an exciting challenge and one we are looking forward to meet.”
After three tough games in the Italian heat, the Junior Boks are enjoying two days away from the training ground to recuperate before resuming with preparations on Friday.
“We have a lot of sore bodies after three big games, and we therefore gave the boys a bit of time off to rest and to enjoy the splendid Italian surroundings before getting back to work on Friday,” added Nhleko.
The Junior Boks will announce their match-day 26 on Monday.