Jacques Nienaber says the mindset of Wales before the July series in South Africa will be similar to what he has previously experienced with the Springboks, reports DEVIN HERMANUS.
The Wales squad leave for the Republic on Thursday, with the first Test between the Welsh and Boks in Pretoria on 2 July, with the series continuing in Bloemfontein before finishing in Cape Town.
Wales will be going into the three-Test tour of SA as rank outsiders, having endured a tough Six Nations campaign which ended in a disappointing defeat by Italy.
That was Italy’s first win over Wales since 2007 and ended a 36-game Six Nations losing streak.
The Welsh have never beaten the world champion Boks in SA in 10 previous attempts, even though recent Tests between the two sides have been closely contested.
In a media conference on Tuesday, Bok coach Nienaber likened the current situation of the Wayne-Pivac-coached Wales national team to what SA went through before Japan 2019.
The Boks went from being written off as contenders in 2018, to beating the more-fancied England side to lift the Webb Ellis Cup a year later.
“I expect a desperate Welsh side and not because of where they are, because I can’t give an opinion what’s going on in their camp, but we’ve been desperate before as the Springboks when we came back in 2018,” Nienaber said.
“So, I know what that feels like. So I think that’s what we will probably face, a team that will be well prepared.
“They had a lot of preparation time building into this series. I think they will be well coached, well prepared and desperate. And again, I’m not saying desperate in the sense that they have to get a victory, but desperate in the sense purely because I know what it felt like in 2018.”
The Bok squad based in Pretoria is in its third week of preparation for the home series against Wales, and Nienaber has welcomed the arrival of the Stormers and Vodacom Bulls members after the two teams contested the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final on Saturday.
However, UK-based Jasper Wiese and Vincent Koch will only link up with the Boks on Monday, while Handre Pollard is also absent as he prepares for the Top 14 final with French side Montpellier.
Nienaber said: “The Bulls and the Stormers have been with us now for one-and-a-half days and obviously the Stormers guys came into camp with smiles on their faces and the Bulls probably disappointed, which one would expect.
“Handre is obviously still playing, but then also we don’t have any of our Premiership players. They are only being released according to regulation nine of World Rugby, which is a week before the Test match.
“Our challenge will be to align them with us, some of the players who will come in from locally or from abroad. Some alignment will probably come a little bit quicker due to experience working with us before and some guys … it is to make sure that we almost breach that gap as quickly as possible.”