- Wales head coach Wayne Pivac was effusive in praising the Springbok scrum ahead of the three-Test meeting starting at Loftus on Saturday.
- The visitors arrived in the country with two uncapped tightheads, potential prey for the World Cup-winning Bok front row.
- However, Pivac said there was no better way to learn than in a furnace with greatness.
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac wasn’t shy to lavish praise on his adversaries, calling the Springbok scrum “consistently the best in the world” on arrival in South Africa.
The Welsh are in the country for the three-Test tour starting at Loftus Versfeld weekend, before moving to Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
The Boks are blessed with a bevy of accomplished front-rowers in Stormers skipper Steven Kitshoff and his cohort Frans Malherbe, Sharks iron man Ox Nche and comrade-in-arms Thomas du Toit and overseas-based behemoths Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch.
Pivac, meanwhile, called up two uncapped tightheads, Saracens’ Harri O’Connor (21) and Sam Wainwright (24), who he said can use the tour as an opportunity to learn, grow and start their own path to greatness.
Sharks greenhorn Ntuthuko Mchunu is the only uncapped front-rower in head coach Jacques Nienaber’s Bok squad.
“It’s always a concern if things don’t go well but there’s also the opportunity for young players to learn a hell of a lot and grow,” said Pivac about his prop stocks.
“There’s no better learning than going up against the best in the world in any sport.
“At that moment, you’d have to say South Africa’s scrum has probably shown that it’s consistently the best in the world.
“Their lineout drive is superb and their forward play is probably second to none. They’re not world champions for nothing; they’re very good at what they do.
“If you’re a young guy on tour coming up against that, you’re going to learn a lot and how much work you’ve got to do to get to that level.
“Hopefully, you’re going to go well and start what could be a very long career for yourself. It’s an exciting tour for any youngster going on a tour like this, I believe.”
The Boks defeated Wales 23-18 in their last meeting in Cardiff last year, where Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Nyakane formed the starting front row.
A bomb squad of replacements in Kitshoff, Koch and Malcolm Marx came around the break to compound SA’s advantage in the confrontational regions.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.