Assistant coach Gethin Jenkins says Dan Biggar will be given as much time as possible to prove his availability for the upcoming series decider between Wales and the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.
Wales come into the third and final Test having levelled the series with a 13-12 victory in Bloemfontein, the visitors’ first-ever win in South Africa.
The tourists now have an opportunity to claim a historic series victory in Cape Town, but are sweating over the availability of a couple of key players.
Captain and flyhalf Biggar was forced off in the second Test with a shoulder injury and replaced by Gareth Anscombe, who kicked the winning conversion in the 78th minute.
Biggar had a rare off day when kicking at goal in Bloemfontein, perhaps owing to his injury, but will be crucial to Wales’ hopes of overcoming a strengthened Bok team on Saturday.
Meanwhile, prop Dillon Lewis also left the field injured at the Free State Stadium, while wing Alex Cuthbert already has returned home and will likely be replaced by Josh Adams for the third Test.
Speaking ahead of the Test, Wales defence coach Jenkins was not keen to give anything away over whether Biggar would be ready for the decider.
“In terms of Dan, we’ll wait until later in the week, while Alex has gone home. We’ve got a few bumps and bruises,” Jenkins said.
“[Lewis] has recovered well and hopefully he’ll train Thursday and be back on the field on the weekend.
“However, there’s not too much to write home about and I think we’ll have a full squad to select from.”
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber named a side featuring 10 changes to the starting lineup for Saturday’s match, with the likes of captain Siya Kolisi, centres Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende and wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe all returning to the team.
“It’s going to be a similar side to the one we faced in the first Test and we were close to getting a result in that game,” Jenkins said. “Nothing changes in terms of our preparation. The challenge for us last week was that a form team was picked because the bulk of those players were in the United Rugby Challenge.
“They hadn’t played together too many times, so this week, they went back to the tried and tested. Hopefully, the homework will be done and the guys will know what’ll need to be done from a mental perspective.
“The stuff they bring off the bench is a big part of the game. South Africa bring strength in depth, they’ve got a lot of quality. It’s a chance for us to prove again that we’ve got the attitude and fight to stick in there.”
Wales are expected to announce their match-day 23 for the Test match on Thursday.
Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko