Springbok tighthead Trevor Nyakane says he expects a fired-up Wales team regardless of what happened in this year’s British & Irish Lions series when the two teams clash in Cardiff on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Nyakane will continue as the starting tighthead prop in a team that features three backline changes to the side that claimed an epic win over New Zealand on the Gold Coast.
The 32-year-old was utilised at loosehead during the latter two Tests against the B&I Lions, but enjoyed great success in helping the Springboks gain dominance at the scrums.
During a media conference in the buildup to Saturday’s Test, Nyakane said that he sees himself primarily as a tighthead, but is happy to shift across the scrum as the team needs him.
“Yeah, in the past three or four years I have been predominantly playing at tighthead. When a few things happened to a few of the players, I had to move to loosehead, but I enjoyed that as well,” Nyakane said.
“If you asked me, I am a tighthead and enjoy the position. It’s good to be back playing there. But, as I always say, for me it is always about the Springbok. It is all about the team.
“Whether the coaches want me at loosehead or tighthead, I am happy to go there and give it my all and give as much as I can for the team.”
Wales are expected to field several players who featured in the Lions series, including loosehead prop Wyn Jones, leading to talk that vengeance for the 2-1 series loss will be on their mind.
However, Nyakane said that Wayne Pivac’s team won’t need any extra motivation to continue their winning streak over the Springboks in Cardiff.
“Every time two nations meet, it’s personal. It is always going to be like that. Even if we hadn’t played some of them in that British & Irish Lions game and we were coming to play them here for the first time, there would be the same energy. They would bring the same physicality and just try and go as hard as they can.
“Obviously, we met each other earlier on and understand a little bit of how one plays and carries themself on the field. But, I think on the international stage, it doesn’t matter who you are playing and whether you have played them before, it’s always going to be tough, they will always give their all.
“We are all playing for our country and trying to give our best. I don’t know if that’s going to be a motivation point for them but, for us, it’s just about playing for that green and gold and representing South Africa. That’s motivation enough for us.”