Wales expecting no miracles

Six Nations champions Wales will be looking to match everything the Springboks throw at them in the next fortnight when the teams meet in a two-Test series.

But coach Warren Gatland said he was expecting no miracles from his injury-depleted squad that arrived in South Africa on Friday morning.

The Six Nations champions are missing several key players, among them Dwayne Peel, Martyn Williams and Gavin Henson, and will have to produce something special to become the first Test team to beat the reigning world champions.

The South Africans, while under the guidance of a new coach in Peter de Villiers, will field a formidable outfit, with several World Cup Boks still in the frame for selection. Among these players are four Europe-based players, Butch James, Victor Matfield, Percy Montgomery and captain John Smit.

Gatland said Friday he was hoping to learn more about his players in the Test series and to see where he can improve the side with an eye on the future.

“Obviously we want to compete with teams on an equal footing, but we’re viewing this series as an opportunity to see where we are as a team,” said Gatland.

“It should be an interesting tussle between the world champions and Six Nations champions, especially with the Springboks having a new coach in Peter de Villiers.”

The Wales team have based themselves in Cape Town ahead of the first Test in Bloemfontein next Saturday. They will travel to Pretoria only after the first Test ahead of the second showdown at Loftus Versfeld a week later.—AFP


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