(Reuters) – Wales will be South Africa’s most difficult opponents on their November tour of Europe, even after losing at Twickenham to England and scrapping narrow wins over France and Scotland, Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus said on Monday.
The South Africans face Wales on Saturday in their last test of the year hoping to overturn a run of defeats on their last three trips to the Cardiff.
“In our view, Wales are definitely the most difficult opponent we will face on this tour,” Erasmus told reporters.
“Warren (Gatland) has managed to build a superb side with lots of experience, and they are playing a good, balanced game, plus they have good depth and quality in their squad.
“They put Tonga away last weekend and the previous week they defeated Australia, so we are preparing ourselves for the most difficult test of this tour.”
South Africa lost 12-6 in 2014, 27-13 in 2016 and 24-22 last year to Wales in Cardiff. They were also beaten 22-20 by the Welsh in June in a one-off test played in Washington D.C.
Erasmus said lock Eben Etzebeth, the most experienced member of the tour squad, will be assessed on Tuesday to prove his fitness after missing the last two tests in Paris and Edinburgh.
“Last week I said it was a 50/50 for him to be ready, I’m a little bit more optimistic this week,” Erasmus said.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond)