British and Irish Lions icon Sir Gareth Edwards accuses South Africa of being DISRESPECTFUL by making 14 changes for their second Test with Wales… and believes visitors will take ‘great motivation’ as they look to level the series
- South Africa narrowly beat Wales 32-29 in the opener of their three-match series
- The Springboks have made a massive 14 changes for their second Test clash
- Sir Gareth Edwards accused South Africa of disrespecting international rugby
British & Irish Lions great Sir Gareth Edwards has accused South Africa of disrespecting international rugby after the Springboks made 14 changes for their second Test with Wales.
Edwards – a legendary figure in both Welsh and Lions circles – saw his country push South Africa all the way in the opener to the three-match series, only to lose 32-29 to the last kick of the game.
Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has ripped up his team for Saturday’s rematch in Bloemfontein with only lock Eben Etzebeth retaining his place from the win in Pretoria.
Jacques Nienaber has ripped up the South Africa team for their second Test against Wales
Wales legend Sir Gareth Edwards has accused South Africa of being disrespectful
South Africa’s side still contains 2019 World Cup winners Handre Pollard, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Etzebeth as well as Harlequins ace Andre Esterhuizen.
But it also includes six international rookies. Edwards – who claimed a Test series victory in South Africa with the Lions in 1974 – has told Wales to take advantage on Saturday.
‘The big disappointment for me was to learn South Africa are going to change nearly their whole team. I think it shows a little bit of disrespect,’ Edwards, now 74, said.
‘That’s their prerogative and not ours, but I can’t understand it. Yes, make changes but not that many.’
South Africa narrowly got the better of Wales with a 32-29 victory in Pretoria on Saturday
Asked if Nienaber’s decision to rotate 14 players devalued the second Test – a claim the South African head coach has denied – Edwards said: ‘I think it does to an extent. There are ways and means of changing. I think it has stunned a lot of people.
‘If there had been five or six changes, you would maybe have raised an eyebrow. But 14 changes, it’s overwhelming. I don’t think it shows respect for Wales, and looking logically, there is only one way to view it and that’s to go and give them a good tonking, as they say.
‘It is a great opportunity for Wales to beat them. I think they will probably be talking to each other and saying “Right boys, that’s what they think of us. Let’s try and take every advantage”.
‘I think it is great motivation for Wales.’
Wales will name their side on Thursday with their head coach Wayne Pivac likely to continue with the same starting XV that came so close in the series opener.
Uncapped Saracens prop Sam Wainwright is set to be named on the bench after Tomas Francis was stood down from the rest of the tour after suffering a head knock in the first Test.
Edwards say Wales should take South Africa’s changes as ‘great motivation’ for the second Test
Speaking at the unveiling of a painting to mark his famous 1973 try for the Barbarians against New Zealand, Edwards added: ‘South Africa have got every right to prepare for the World Cup, but I’d really like to know what their logic is in changing so many.
‘I suppose the only way they can justify it is if they win. Take it from me, any side I’ve played against in a green and gold jersey is one you are going to have to give respect to.
‘You can only play against the side that’s picked against you.’
Edwards has also urged Wales to bid for victory as a way of marking the legacy of his former team-mate Phil Bennett, who passed away in June.
Wales are winless in 11 matches on South African soil but the changes have opened the door for Wayne Pivac’s side to put an end to that barren run when they play in Bloemfontein
‘I can imagine the delight Phil would have had if he’d been able to watch the first Test on TV. Let’s be fair, short of the result last Saturday it was an outstanding performance,’ Edwards said.
‘We have to give Wales a lot of credit They didn’t get the beating everyone was forecasting and I couldn’t believe the score at half time.’
Wales remain winless from 11 matches played on South African soil, but Nienaber’s selection has opened the door for Pivac and his side to end that barren run.
An intriguing second Test awaits.
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