Wales invoke spirit for SA clash


WalesWales are depending on the spirit that saw the British and Irish Lions record a series win over Australia in the summer for their opening autumn Test against South Africa on Saturday.

By: Sport24

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named 11 players who featured under him for the Lions in their 2-1 win over the Wallabies to take on the might of a vastly experienced, hulking Springbok team.

Saturday’s match at the Millennium Stadium will be the first time the two countries have met since the Springboks edged a 2011 Rugby World Cup pool game in Wellington, 17-16.

Wales, however, went on to reach the semi-finals in New Zealand, with Gatland also overseeing three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams since taking charge of the Principality’s side in 2008.

But Wales’s record in that same period against the southern hemisphere giants of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia has been dire, with just one win – against Australia in 2008 – compared to 20 defeats.

And Wales have racked up just one victory over South Africa – in 1999, in 26 internationals stretching back 107 years.

“There’s no bigger hurdle when you’re involved with any team and you’re playing against the southern hemisphere and actually winning,” said Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.

“The confidence and self-belief that they had after the Lions tour was huge. You can see a difference in their mindset. This week, the emotion from the players, in particularly the Lions players, has been different.

“There’s been a very positive mindset from the fact they’ve had a wonderful experience in the summer and obviously they need to bring that in the national jersey on Saturday.”

Returning flank Dan Lydiate agreed, saying of previous results that have gone the way of either South Africa, Australia or New Zealand: “We’ve always come so close, it’s that last step.

“The (Lions) win in the summer can only help us and boost us going into these autumn internationals.

“You take confidence in being involved in such a squad.”

Ospreys wing Eli Walker was a late withdrawal for Wales after pulling out with a hamstring injury, his place taken by Scarlets full-back Liam Williams.

South Africa have arrived in Europe on the back of finishing highly creditable second behind world champions New Zealand in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and are sure to provide tough opposition.

Prop Frans Malherbe will make his debut for the ‘Boks, while other injuries have forced coach Heyneke Meyer into picking an experienced backline.

The 22-year-old Frans Malherbe comes in for the injured Jannie du Plessis and faces a baptism of fire against a tested Welsh and all-Lions front-row of Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Gethin Jenkins.

The only other change to the pack is at lock, with Flip van der Merwe starting next to Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

Star backs JP Pietersen and Jaque Fourie are also back in the Springbok team for the match at the Millennium Stadium.

It will be Fourie’s first Test for South Africa since the World Cup in 2011, while a combination of injury and non-availability means Pietersen is back for his first taste of international rugby yet this season.

“We’re very fortunate to have two world-class players in JP and Jaque available for selection and I wanted to get them into the action as soon as possible,” said Meyer.

“They bring a vast amount of experience to the team and it was clear from our training sessions thus far that they are in great form and ready for Test rugby.”

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. @Morné:

    Please no. The furthest we can stay away from that the better. I tried to watch a game live once and never again. The amount of stoppages and off field nonsense that goes on will turn me off rugby forever.

  2. @Craven:

    I am not talking about the game itself, that remains stupid everytime I tried to watch it (and never got beyond 5 minutes which is 30 seconds of actual play). I am talking pre-match and half time entertainment. Mango Groove and Kurt Darren or dancing girls doesn’t quite cut it.

  3. @Morné:

    rugby does not need any side shows to make it an entertaining event. Pre-game you talk to the opposition fans, discuss things about the game you are about to witness with friends and foes. Then you watch the game with interest and at half-time ponder on what went right/wrong. After the game again time to discuss.

    No need for load shitty music disturbing the experience. If you want crowds singing and dancing etc go and watch soccer where their is no entertainment on the pitch so the crowd makes their own = totally different experience.


    Hmmm, yes.

    It seems loads of fun to chat to the few hundred people that bother to go to stadiums for most matches these days.

    You also forget, less people are taking up the game of rugby today than ever before, interest in the sport is declining at a rapid rate.

    How do you expect to attract a new breed of supporter (essential not only for the stadium experience but also for the game’s future commercially)?

    What is interesting about the game to women and kids 16 or younger that does not sit in a pub or around a braai to ‘discuss and debate’ the game of which the laws are very confusing to the general guy on the street? What sort of stadium experience and total package are you selling them?

    The ‘awesome’ vibe at the beer tent? Johnny Cleg’s Impi blaring over a 100-year old PA system, the inspiring chants of Ole, Ole, Ole, 10 girls dancing on the field for 5 minutes with a bunch of flags? All leading up to 30 guys playing a game which is bloody hard to understand even for the average fan?

    You are right, rugby is doing a great job to enhance the stadium experience attracting a new breed of fans who pays top dollar to be entertained…

  5. Hi Morne, Aldo will send you a quote on sarcasm. O, sorry, no worries: your comment does not cover the also-run blue cows or his sugerdaddy Maaier. So you should be OK…


    Can’t agree more.
    One of the reasons I don’t attend is the shit
    noise dished out and disguised as music.
    Inbetween breaks and at half time I want to
    reflect on the game with my partner(s).

  7. I miss propper “voorwedstryde”. Going to the stadium at 10:00 where the main game starts at 15.00. There used to be school and club games playing and games between the unions B teams. For me going to the rugby is about watching rugby, and for me this means more than just the main game. Going there for just the 80 minute game is not always worth the trouble.

    I couldn’t care less about half time entertainment. I would prefer there not to be any. A few games of good rugby should attract people more than shallow half-time entertainment.

  8. @Morné:

    The historically black colleges have the best marching bands. You may find some half-time shows of the Grambling vs. Southern game they play in New Orleans every year.

    Well worth watching.

    As a purist, I don’t care much for the side shows either, but SA rugby does need some shaking up. Those empty stadiums for the CC semis were shocking.

  9. And some food for thought regarding American football.

    Every Sunday in season there are 16 games at 60-70K sold-out stadiums.
    Every Saturday, there are around 40 to 50 College games 80 – 110K sold-out stadiums.

    Friday nights there are hundreds of high school games filling 5-10K school stadiums with paying attendees.

    Don’t be to arrogant to learn from others.
    Either they have a very watchable sport, or they are doing something right.

  10. Season tickets are so popular that the newest thing is to sell the rights for buying it.

    Get it?

    You have to pay a stiff sum, just for the right to buy season tickets for further further stiff sums.

    And people do that, and attend the games, lasting 3-4hours, in open stadiums at freezing temperatures.

  11. Not much different than rugby. For the true believers it’s the be all and end all. For the rest of humanity, it’s a shitty game.

  12. Check this out:

    There are SO MANY football/basketball meatheads working loser jobs – think Carlin Isles who was an also ran on a backwoods college team.

    Also – attendance issues aren’t some SA or S15 issue – it’s worldwide. Games on TV have gotten so good – & with the internets – the world has gotten a lot less social….in real life.–keeping-fans-in-the-stands-is-getting-harder-to-do-005355696.html

  13. Forget the actual game, like I said I tried to watch it a couple of times and I don’t like it. But if ever I am in the US one day I will make a point of attending one just for the experience and THAT is what rugby is missing.

    The ‘purists’ of the game of rugby is a dying breed folks. Like Timeo said, by giving one look at the massive attendance these guys get at games they are doing something right which we are not (in a age where people much rather sit on their ass in front of a TV). This vibe is not only important for those at the stadium including the teams, it is massively important to the sponsors and commercial guys.

    What is needed in my opinion is something to enhance the stadium experience (not take anything away). I want to take my wife and kids to a game and make sure we all have a great time. Currently, while I enjoy myself just being able to watch the game, they have to put up with annoying drunks dancing to the sounds of Kurt Darren.

  14. Bad crowd behaviour is one thing driving
    attendances down.
    How do you address that?
    Some go there to get drunk – not for the rugby.

  15. @Morné:

    One more thing on this morne.

    I watched the Alabama vs. Louisiana State game with my neighbor last night. It’s fair fun watching with friends. Lots of time to drink beer discuss stuff watch replays and such. This was a big game. Alabama is ranked #1 but one loss can knock you out of contention for the National Championship and LSU is one of the very few teams that has managed to beat Alabama in the last few years.

    But most significantly, the stadium was packed, 101K people making a lot of noise and you never see anyone sitting down. How often do see that at a rugby game? People standing and making noise the whole freaking game. I’m not so sure why or what for but they must either have a seriously good product or seriously good marketing.

  16. @Morné:

    I personally don’t give a f&%k about the money – rugby is not a business for me. chasing the big $ will destroy rugby like it destroys everything else.


    So we are at least on the same page – at least in EU you can still go to games in Treviso for the RUGBY experience! Kids playing rugby on the pitch before the main event, a family atmosphere and no kak music blaring all day.

  17. Was lovely to hear the crowds sing during the games this weekend, especially the French, Welsh and English games. That adds a hell of a lot of atmosphere to the game.

    Our mob just chanting ole, ole, ole, ole ad nauseum (we are not Spanish for goodness sake) does not create “atmosphere”.