The Springboks should smash a “bits and pieces” Wales 23 on Saturday, with a showing that reminds everyone why South Africa are world champions, writes MARK KEOHANE.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber has named an experienced lineup for the clash at the Principality Stadium as he looks to start building momentum and cohesiveness within his squad for the World Cup, which kicks off in France on Friday, 8 September.
Captain Siya Kolisi and loosehead prop Ox Nche make their return from injury while scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse makes his first appearance following a family bereavement.
Wales boss Warren Gatland on Wednesday named a heavily-changed team to face the Boks, but on Thursday the two most experienced members of the Welsh backline – Dan Biggar and Liam Williams – had to withdraw due to injury.
In his TimesLIVE column, Keohane reminds Bok supporters that the biggest winning record for SA in Cardiff is 22 points in 2007 – the final score was 34-12 – and nothing less than a record-breaking performance this weekend will do.
“The world-champion Boks, at close to full-strength in the run-on XV, should smash this Welsh bits and pieces selection, which has been picked to affirm who won’t be going to the World Cup in a back-up capacity,” he writes.
“Gatland could have sent a team out to defend Wales’s fantastic home record of beating the Boks in four of their last five matches in Cardiff. Wales should get walloped.
“It is my wish that Siya Kolisi leads the Boks to a 23-plus point win, given the contrast in the respective experience and strength of the two squads.
“Don’t be surprised if the Bok win by more than 30 points.
“Over and above the final score and points differential, I want the Boks to finally put in that statement performance in 2023 that reminds the world why these blokes won a World Cup.”
Photo: EPA/Nic Bothma