Pressure is on the Boks! Head coach Wayne Pivac cranks up the mind games as Wales look to more history in the Test series decider against South Africa
- Wales won the second Test 13-12 to claim their first win in South Africa
- Wales boss Wayne Pivac believes the pressure is on the Boks for the third Test
- Dan Biggar and Dillon Lewis have ‘miraculously’ recovered to face the Boks
A battered and injured Wales have defied all odds to advance into Saturday’s crucial Test South Africa with the chance of a remarkable series victory.
That didn’t come true. Wales have excelled with their backs to the wall.
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac believes the pressure is on South Africa for the third Test
In the backyard of the world champions, Pivac’s men deservedly won the first Test and clinched victory in the second. Now both sides are ready to move into win-or-bust territory.
“I think there will be pressure on the home team,” said Pivac. “There’s no doubt about that because they (South Africa) were hot favourites.
“To bring it to the last game I think it adds a bit of spice and a bit of pressure. It’s like any sport. You can have a dead gum in a Davis Cup.
“The match is still being played, but it doesn’t have quite the same importance. We’re very excited to play with something this week that hasn’t been seen before.
“It’s about getting it right mentally now. It’s been three big, tough weeks. It’s a massive test match, but it’s very enjoyable to be in the race. It (a series win) would mean the world to the team.
Captain Dan Biggar and prop master Dillon Lewis have “miraculously” recovered to face the Boks
“You’ve worked very hard to get into this position.”
Wales shocked South Africa 13-12 in the second Test, earning their first victory on Springbok ground against a team that contained 14 substitutions and six uncapped players.
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has brought back the big guns for this weekend.
Wales’ only change is second Test match winner Josh Adams replacing injured Alex Cuthbert on the wing.
Captain Dan Biggar and key prop Dillon Lewis have “miraculously” recovered from injuries.
Both had to leave the field in Bloemfontein last Saturday with shoulder and elbow problems, but are fit for the start.
Wales won the second Test 13-12 to claim their first win in South Africa last Saturday
“The most important thing for us is that the guys have fuel in their tanks on Saturday,” admitted Pivac. “A few guys are broken but it’s a big event that the players are looking forward to. We’d like to think the effort will be as big as it was in the first two tests.
“Obviously they (South Africa) had a week to freshen up. Our boys have been able to compete with two different sides in the last two weeks. We’ll be ready physically and now it’s a big mental challenge for us to get back up and move on after last week’s excitement.”
At the end of a long season, the big question for Wales is will they be able to muster the physical and mental energy required to take on a South African giants again?
The Springboks, meanwhile, are the beginning of their campaign.
Not only are they suffering from a rare home defeat, they can also bring back a whole host of world champions who had the weekend off.
No one can blame Wales if they ran out of breath this Saturday as they have already exceeded expectations, especially after their dreadful Six Nations and defeat to Italy.
Wales go into Saturday’s crucial test with a chance of a remarkable run of wins
And yet the feeling remains that Pivac’s men have a priceless opportunity within reach.
Regardless of their staff, South Africa were rusty in the first two Tests.
Wales can benefit again as long as they can go up front for the third game in a row and minimize their penalty tally to around the 10 mark.
“We have a lot to play and would envision ourselves in the final stages if the game gets tight,” said Pivac, who has written Welsh history and has more in his sights.
Center George North becomes Wales’ most accomplished full-back on his 105th appearance in Cape Town. Biggar’s fitness means second Test hero Gareth Anscombe is on a strong bench with veteran strikers Alun Wyn Jones and Josh Navidi. Wales has a good chance.
“Of course we are very satisfied. They’re two key players for us,” Pivac said of Biggar and Lewis’ recovery. “I have to say the medical team did a fantastic job.”