South Africa call Wales ‘desperate’ as Springboks coach reveals dinner conversation with Pivac


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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has claimed “desperate” Wales will be dangerous this summer, adding that Wayne Pivac has already told him he’s coming to win the series.

Pivac’s side arrived in Johannesburg on Friday morning ahead of their first Test in Pretoria next week, with few offering Wales much hope after a dismal Six Nations that brought just one victory and a first home defeat to Italy. However, Nienaber, who had already called Wales “desperate” earlier in the week, offered more context to why he expects Wales to cause the world champions problems this summer.

Speaking at a press conference in Pretoria on Thursday, the Springbok coach compared Wales’ current predicament to where South Africa were a year out from the 2019 World Cup. Despite going on to win the tournament in Japan, the summer of 2018 saw them lose to Wales in Washington – the first match of Rassie Erasmus’ reign.

READ MORE: Top pundit Gwyn Jones loses belief in Pivac

“They are coming here with a squad that is experienced, has been there before and had a month to prepare. Their local teams did not reach the knockout stages of the URC,” said Nienaber.

“We haven’t spoken about Wales a lot as a Springbok team but I think our biggest challenge will be to find solutions. Having had a month to prepare, I am not sure if they (Wales) are going to restart the way they restarted for the Six Nations.

“When we started in 2018, we were desperate and desperate people do desperate things. What we did was to change the defence system and the way we kicked in a week.”

“I think they are desperate and desperate people are always be dangerous. We will prepare what we think is coming our way but it might be completely different.

“As the game goes on, after 10 minutes we will probably say they have changed this or that but we will have to be absolutely solution-riven on the field to be able to adapt to changes.

“That is going to be a nice challenge for us, but they are experienced and have a team that will be able to adapt, and it is always a tough battle against them.”

The Springbok coach also revealed he’d had dinner with Pivac recently, with the Wales coach, team manager Martyn Williams and conditioning coach Paul Stridgeon having travelled to South Africa to scout training facilities. There, Nienaber reveals, Pivac supposedly laid out his plans for the summer tour.

“When I had dinner with their coach Wayne Pivac in Cape Town, he didn’t mince his words, ” he added. “He said we have never won a series in South Africa and that’s our mission. I laughed about it, but I also realised he was straight up about it, so they’ll be focused for this series.

“We were in the same position in 2018 to change the perception of this team. They will be desperate and not in a bad sense, but they will be focused because there has been lot of negative publicity on the team.”


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