Wales will be embracing their underdog status when their three-Test series against the Springboks in South Africa gets under way next week, says experienced lock Adam Beard.
Wales have never beaten the world champion Springboks in South Africa in 10 previous attempts and are coming off a poor Six Nations campaign, which ended in a historic loss to Italy in Cardiff.
Italy’s stunning 22-21 victory in Cardiff condemned Wayne Pivac’s defending title holders to a lowly fifth-place finish in the Six Nations.
Despite winning just four games – against Canada, Fiji, Australia and Scotland – in the past 12 months, Beard, who faced the Springboks during last year’s British & Irish Lions tour, is relishing the underdog tag.
“I think we work best when we are actually underdogs,” Beard told RugbyPass.
“Going into this tour, nobody has given us any sort of chance to go out there and get a victory against South Africa. As the Welsh nation, we thrive under those circumstances.
“We were three points away from beating South Africa and being in a World Cup final three years ago and last autumn we were unlucky not to get a victory.
“They are big men who are very direct and they come hard at you. We know our set piece has got to be on point and definitely the physicality point of the game. We have got to take it head-on to them.
“We haven’t played for a couple of weeks so it’s important that we’ve had those training sessions where it needs to get a bit tasty, a bit lively, so when we got out to South Africa we are ready for that confrontation.
“There is no better opportunity now to dust off what has happened, get on this tour and prove a point to everyone who is doubting us.”
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images