Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has hinted he will be mostly sticking with his tried and tested players when the series against Wales gets under way in early July.
Speaking to the media this week, Nienaber suggested continuity was still key for the side, despite the wealth of exciting new players coming through.
The national coach is instead eyeing the three South Africa ‘A’ matches coming later this year as an opportunity to blood new players, although injuries to key performers could speed up the process.
“We’ve got a plan with the players and hopefully, we’ll have three South Africa ‘A’ games coming up in November,” Jacques Nienaber said.
“That’ll give us an opportunity to expand and be creative in terms of team selection, but we also have a plan that’s worked out for the year in terms of when and where to play players.
“That plan can and will change according to results and injuries. If you pick up two injuries in a position, then a certain player may end up starting.
“That’s something we’ll monitor closely and it’s a balancing act that we need to get right. If there’s a chance to expose players to the highest level, then we will.
“However, that’ll be determined by the momentum we build.”
Wales have never won a Test against the Springboks in SA
Wales have never won a Test in South Africa, and – as reported by The South African website – with their current lowly world ranking and numerous injury problems, they are not expected to trouble the world champions.
However, Nienaber went to great lengths to talk up the challenge the Welsh would present.
“I expect a desperate Welsh side and not because of where they are. I can’t give an opinion on where they are, but we’ve been desperate before,” Jacques Nienaber said.
“I know what that feels like, and I think that’s what we’ll probably face. They’ll be well prepared and they had a lot of preparation time building into the series.
“They’ll be well-coached and desperate in a sense because I know their position.”