South Africa step up preparations for final autumn international

South Africa step up preparations for final autumn international as coach Rassie Erasmus labels Wales clash as Springboks’ toughest test of the tour

  • South Africa have beaten France and Scotland and lost to England on their tour
  • Coach Rassie Erasmus has warned his side face difficult match against Wales
  • The team spent the day training at WSC Treforest Grounds ahead of the clash 

South Africa warmed up for their final Northern hemisphere tour match against Wales with an intensive training session.

Springboks’ coach Rassie Erasmus warned his squad, who have beaten Scotland and France and lost by a single point to England, that Wales will be their toughest test yet.  

He praised Gatland’s attempts at building greater depth within his squad to cope with the attritional demands of a World Cup. 

Rassie Erasmus insisted Wales are the Springboks' most dangerous opponents on tour

Rassie Erasmus insisted Wales are the Springboks’ most dangerous opponents on tour

Handre Pollard starred in South Africa’s win over Scotland, kicking well from the tee

‘They gave Scotland a comfortable beating and they beat Australia,’ Erasmus said. ‘It will be a tough match.

‘We had four tough matches on this tour, and although we lost against England, I think this is the toughest one.

‘What I can see clearly in this cycle is the way he (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) is building depth for the World Cup.

‘Those of us who have been at World Cups know that you might feel you have the most solid squad in the world, but two months before it you lose two 10s or nines, and all of a sudden you are in trouble.

‘He seems to be having three proper nines and 10s, different guys who can play 15, a good front-row and back-up in vital positions. I rate him as a coach. He is building a quality squad with Wales.’

Trevor Nyakane will be hoping to make his South Africa debut against Wales on Saturday

Trevor Nyakane will be hoping to make his South Africa debut against Wales on Saturday

The team run through intensive drills before the final match of their Northern Hemisphere tour

The team run through intensive drills before the final match of their Northern Hemisphere tour

Stormers wing Sergeal Petersen gets involved in the session at WSC Treforest Grounds

Stormers wing Sergeal Petersen gets involved in the session at WSC Treforest Grounds

Wales have recorded eight successive wins, including a 22-20 triumph against South Africa in Washington DC five months ago.

Erasmus also declared that their no clear favourite for next year’s World Cup, which will be played in Japan.

He pointed to recent results achieved against New Zealand as evidence of how open the competition currently is. 

Back-row Duane Vermeulen has featured in all three tour games, playing both flanker and No 8

Back-row Duane Vermeulen has featured in all three tour games, playing both flanker and No 8

The tourists have started a different scrum-half in each of their games, including Ivan van Zyl 

The tourists have started a different scrum-half in each of their games, including Ivan van Zyl 

Despite formally retiring in the summer, hooker Schalk Brits (r) is a part of the playing squad

Despite formally retiring in the summer, hooker Schalk Brits (r) is a part of the playing squad

‘I think it (World Cup) will be an open race next year,’ added Erasmus.

‘We saw what happened with Ireland beating New Zealand. We managed to pip New Zealand, Scotland almost had New Zealand last year and England almost had them this month.

‘The clear favourites are New Zealand and Ireland, but Wales are one of those teams hovering there – almost the silent assassin at this stage.’ 

Eben Etzebeth will be hoping to return to the starting line-up after suffering an injury

Eben Etzebeth will be hoping to return to the starting line-up after suffering an injury

Centre Damian de Allende pays close attention as his side run through their training drills

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