Preview: Wales v South Africa

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 7 Nov 2008 at 10:20
Tagged with :

Wales have won just one match in 22 against South Africa. This match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday could double their victories.

Sound silly? Paul Dobson writes for

It’s not. First of all Wakes has a strong, well-balanced team – capable of doing the tough stuff up front and striking with lightning speed out wide.

Secondly South Africa seem so confident of winning. South African rugby has performed best when it has its back to the world. Write the Springboks off and they perform. But this time there is an air of confidence bordering on arrogance – dismissing Wales as really not much cop, experimenting with John Smit at tighthead and Ruan Pienaar at flyhalf.

Of course, they are experiments that may just succeed and the memories of Loftus Versfeld in June do enough to dispel overconfidence, because at one stage weakened Wales led.

This time any weakening of Wales my be as a result of arguments with clubs to get players released for practice, but this time the Welsh season is in full flight. The South Africans are just off their long, tough season of Super 14, Tests and Currie Cup, but they, too, should be fit enough and hardened.

If the Springbok front row stands firm it is hard to see where Wales would beat them, though kicking could play a serious part. Ruan Pienaar will be the goal-kicker and he is at best inconsistent. One the other hand the Wales have precise Stephen Jones to slot goals from them when they get close enough. They may well get close enough because Bismarck du Plessis and Schalk Burger are often penalised. (Having a dedicated refereeing coach on tour may well prove beneficial.)

And then, of course, there is the mercurial brilliance of Shane Williams who scored that brilliant try against the Springboks at mid year.

This could just be a truly great match – the match of the month.

Players to Watch: You will watch Shane Williams and you will watch the other left wing, Bryan Habana. Both are players to electrify a rugby match. There is always a frisson of excitement when the ball is heading their way. You will watch the return of Gavin Henson. He is always, not necessarily for rugby reasons, in the spotlight. This could be an occasion to show his talent. You will see a lot of Fourie du Preez and you will want to see if multi-talented Ruan Pienaar can hack it at flyhalf and if John Smit, who has so many sterling qualities, will be the power that the Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold believes that he will be. You will be interested to see if Victor Matfield can regain the line-out form that lifted him head and shoulders – literally – above all other line-out jumpers.

Head to Head: They may be at opposite ends of the field but the way they play may well bring Lee Byrne and Conrad Jantjes into contact. Both are excellent under the high ball, dashing forward to leap at it, and both enjoy attacking. At inside centre there is an interesting match-up of unusual strength and skill in the position where Jean de Villiers and Gavin Henson meet. At flyhalf there is the cool, old head of Stephen Jones against the talent of Ruan Pienaar. The interesting contest in the pack is Gethin Jenkins against John Smit and perhaps even more so the direct, wholehearted energy and power of Schalk Burger against the cunning wiles and skill of Martyn Williams.

Recent Results:

2008: South Africa won 37-21, Pretoria
2008: South Africa won 43-17, Bloemfontein
2007: South Africa won 34-12, Cardiff
2005: South Africa won 33-16, Cardiff
2004: South Africa won 38-36, Cardiff
2004: South Africa won 53-18, Pretoria
2002: South Africa won 19-8, Cape Town
2002: South Africa won 34-19, Bloemfontein
2000: South Africa won 23-13, Cardiff

Prediction: Look at history and you say with ease that the Springboks will win. But the game is here and now and not about history. And here and now the Welsh believe that they will win – as they did in 1906 and as they managed, uniquely, in 1999. But we believe that Springbok power will prevail and that the Springboks will win by six points in a high-scoring game.


Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Ryan Jones (captain), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Ian Gough, 19 Dafydd Jones, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 James Hook, 22 Tom Shanklin

South Africa: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 John Smit (captain), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Brian Mujati, 17 GΓΌrthro Steenkamp, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Frans Steyn, 22 Jaque Fourie.

Date: Saturday, 8 November
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT)
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Weather: Irrelevant. They are going to close the roof on Friday and leave it closed for the day. Presumably the climate will be perfect.
Referee: Alan Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges: Alan Lewis (Ireland), George Clancy (Ireland)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)


  • Players to watch – ALL THE PLAYERS! πŸ˜†

    Can’t wait for this one…thanks a lot PdV for your “innovative” changes…otherwise this was gonna be just another Test against Wales. πŸ™„

    It’s got added flavour now and I’m sure the viewership has increased.
    Hier kom die Bokke!!!

  • Comment 1, posted at 07.11.08 10:28:37 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Also the June match was played under old rules when we were already used to ELV’s . We have way more experience with ELV’s than Wales. Also this is Wales first test since they played us in June and we had a hard tri-nations inbetween. Maybe his will count against us , but I don’t think so. The Boks will lose if they are arrogant , but from other news reports I’ve read it’s the Welsh that are overconfident.
    Boks by 15

  • Comment 2, posted at 07.11.08 10:28:54 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • If reports on Boots n All is correct the roof is going to be closed and that just be what the Boks want. My prediction is a close first half with the Boks ( Kanko ) running away with it in the 2nd half.

  • Comment 3, posted at 07.11.08 10:31:26 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) : Bokke by 25 or MORE!

    I think our involvement in the 3N will be to our advantage.

    Confidence bordering on arrogance is cool…as long as it doesn’t cross-over to ARROGANCEVILLE.

  • Comment 4, posted at 07.11.08 10:32:29 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • We need to play the more structured game in the 1st half and run them ragged in the 2nd. he he he I can’t wait

  • Comment 5, posted at 07.11.08 10:33:20 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 5) :

    No doubt we have to play to our strengths- but if they open like the Aussies in the first half…we’ll take them right there and then…

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.11.08 10:37:59 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • I hope it will be a high scoring afair. But not a close one.

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.11.08 10:41:39 by McLovin Reply
  • I just looked at the Bok bench and it actually looks weaker than the Sharks bench in the CC Final. Especially the Props and scrumhalf

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.11.08 10:44:56 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • 8 Andy Powell – 1.93m – 115kg
    7 Martyn Williams – 1.85m – 100kg
    6 Ryan Jones (captain) – 1.96m – 114kg
    5 Ian Evans – 2.03m – 116kg
    4 Alun Wyn Jones – 1.98m – 119kg
    3 Adam Jones – 1.83m – 127kg
    2 Matthew Rees – 1.88m – 108kg
    1 Gethin Jenkins – 1.88m – 118kg

    Some heavy weights in the Welsh pack. 😯

    They must have been weighed with all their gear on just after xmas lunch. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.11.08 10:57:32 by McLovin Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 8) : yeah – the Sharks CC team would beat Wales, no problem πŸ™‚

  • Comment 10, posted at 07.11.08 10:57:52 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 9) : you gonna do the Boks, or should I?

  • Comment 11, posted at 07.11.08 11:01:20 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • 15 Lee Byrne – 1.88m – 96kg
    14 Leigh Halfpenny – 1.78m – 83kg
    13 Jamie Roberts – 1.93m – 106kg
    12 Gavin Henson – 1.83m – 94kg
    11 Shane Williams – 1.70m – 80kg
    10 Stephen Jones – 1.83m – 95kg
    9 Gareth Cooper – 1.70m – 84kg

  • Comment 12, posted at 07.11.08 11:05:12 by McLovin Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ β€˜08) (Comment 11) : Please do. πŸ™‚

  • Comment 13, posted at 07.11.08 11:05:48 by McLovin Reply
  • Go King Proteas!!!!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.11.08 11:10:37 by Dive Pass Reply
    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 14) :

    Surely the “King” Protea implies sexism and royal elitism….I mean how do the other Proteas feel about being discriminated against? One flower being more equal then the others?

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.11.08 11:13:02 by Dive Pass Reply
    Dive Pass
  • @McLovin (Comment 13) : ok – gimme a few minutes

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.11.08 11:19:53 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • right – the Bokks forwards:

    Beast 1.88 112
    Bis 1.89 112
    John 1.88 117
    Bakkies 2.02 120
    Vic 2 109
    Schalla 1.93 110
    Juan 1.96 108
    Spies 1.94 107

    Our average height is 1.94 m, to their 1.92.

    Average weight, though is 115kg to 112kg in their favour.

    Our pack weight is 895 kg… there’s is 917

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.11.08 11:31:32 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • Is Vickey really only 109kg?

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.11.08 11:36:34 by McLovin Reply
  • Adam Jones’ 127kg seems a bit fishy to me.

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.11.08 11:37:41 by McLovin Reply
  • So the Boks are taller and leaner, and they are shorter & fatter. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.11.08 11:38:56 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 19) : yeah – that’s pretty hefty, innit…

  • Comment 21, posted at 07.11.08 11:44:52 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 19) : not when compared to the heaviest player ever to play in an international. Fijian prop “Big Bill” Cavubati tipped the scales at an astonishing 165kg when picked to represent his country

  • Comment 22, posted at 07.11.08 11:59:10 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 19) : have searched a number of sources. It seems accurate. The guy is big. Look here:

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.11.08 12:02:30 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ β€˜08) (Comment 22) : 165kg 😯 Probably walked from scrum to scrum. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.11.08 12:04:44 by McLovin Reply
  • here’s a pic of “Big Bill”

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.11.08 12:05:07 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ β€˜08) (Comment 25) : he’s (obviously) the guy on the left πŸ™‚

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.11.08 12:05:51 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • First of all Wakes has a strong, well-balanced team …

    Good thing we are just playing Wales then… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.11.08 12:06:21 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • But far be it from me to critise another man’s weight. πŸ™‚

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.11.08 12:06:31 by McLovin Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ β€˜08) (Comment 25) :
    Whoaaa! 😯

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.11.08 12:08:21 by chernaya akula - B.O.! Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @chernaya akula – B.O.! (Comment 27) : oops πŸ™‚

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.11.08 12:08:54 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @chernaya akula – B.O.! (Comment 29) : he played for Wellington for yonks. Even got a few caps for the Canes.

    I don’t ever recall ANY of the Sharks props struggling against him. But that was back when we had giant-killer Kempson on our books

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.11.08 12:10:37 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • I see on sky sports that Henson is out injured.

  • Comment 32, posted at 07.11.08 17:56:01 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 32) : Achilles injury

  • Comment 33, posted at 07.11.08 17:56:21 by McLovin Reply
  • Nooit,was hoping to see him getting flattened by bakkies or beast

  • Comment 34, posted at 07.11.08 18:08:47 by PJLD Reply
  • And what use does weight in the scrum have if you aren’t able to carry that weight around the field for at least 60minutes.

  • Comment 35, posted at 07.11.08 18:13:36 by KSA Shark Β© Reply
    KSA Shark Β©
  • Henson will be replaced by Tom Shanklin in Wales’ starting line-up, with Jamie Roberts switching to inside centre to accommodate Shanklin in his favoured outside centre role. Andrew Bishop steps up to take a place on the bench.

  • Comment 36, posted at 07.11.08 18:41:16 by McLovin Reply
  • Bloody hell! 😑 M Morkel just bowled 4 wides in an over!! πŸ‘Ώ

  • Comment 37, posted at 07.11.08 19:36:41 by klempie Reply
  • OK the Bangas just ran a batsman out. Lucky.

  • Comment 38, posted at 07.11.08 19:37:47 by klempie Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 12) : Stephen Jones…95kg? No ways!! I would say 85 more like it!

  • Comment 39, posted at 07.11.08 21:48:32 by Villie Reply
  • Watching wales vs sa 2005 ,which commentators are more one eyed the irish or the welsh?

  • Comment 40, posted at 07.11.08 22:08:21 by PJLD Reply
  • Juan smith dishes out the best handoff ever in this game.

  • Comment 41, posted at 07.11.08 22:11:55 by PJLD Reply
  • @PJLD (Comment 40) :

    The Aussies!

  • Comment 42, posted at 08.11.08 06:37:29 by KSA Shark Β© Reply
    KSA Shark Β©

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