South Africa v Wales live: Score and latest updates from the second test

South Africa v Wales live: Score and latest updates from the second test

Band Ben Coles

It’s debatable how much weaker South Africa really are for the second Test against Wales today.

Take out world-class players in Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi, Faf de Klerk, the centers of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am and the wings of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe and you lose a lot of experience and quality.

But the substitutes, as Wales captain Dan Biggar noted this week, hardly measure up. “It almost seems like whoever they picked for this weekend is the real in-form players,” Biggar said. “I know the team we faced last weekend is renowned, experienced, World Cup winners and the like, but this team, you have [Handre] Pollard at 10 years old and real exciting form players.

“We make changes every fall, don’t we? Whether it’s Georgia, Fiji, whoever. There’s nothing for me. South Africa can choose whoever they want, and she will be very strong.”

That being said, split any side and fill it with new combinations and there will be some teething problems.

“If we can play in the right areas, look to put South Africa under pressure, there will be opportunities and there will be cracks in their defense to exploit,” Biggar added.

Wales were brave and quietly impressive last week in Pretoria, minutes away from a first test victory in South Africa. The feeling afterwards was that they might never have a better chance after losing 32-29, but the Springboks’ selection changed that thinking slightly.

Building on the areas where Wales have done well – the breakdown, alignment and kicking play, with Biggar describing Kieran Hardy’s boxing kick as ‘excellent’ – while reducing the number of penalties last week after conceding 19, and you never know what might happen.

One challenge will be the midfield threat of Andre Esterhuizen, Harlequins center and RPA Players’ Player of the Season, with Biggar praising one of Esterhuizen’s unsuspected strengths.

“He has an incredible kicking game with fairness. He has a massive huge left ankle. At altitude again on Saturday, it will be a huge weapon for them,” Biggar said.

“Quins plays with a lot of passing and continuity, as they move the ball around a lot, but what they have with him is a guy who can get them over the winning line, which makes life easier, no matter how you want to play.

“I think what he’s going to bring are some small, subtle differences from playing for Quins. He’s used to playing fast guys who have good footwork and good hands, so I think it will suit them to play him on Saturday with the players they have chosen around him.”

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