Wales coach Warren Gatland says he has been “hard” on his players after failing to win against Australia last weekend. Looking at their injury list, you feel they could have done without the extra battering this week.
Jonathan Davies, Cory Allen and Scott Williams have all fallen in the centres, meaning that a quarter final starting berth has been handed to 20-year-old Tyler Morgan, with only two caps to his name.
The walking wounded aren’t just in the backs. Flanker Dan Lydiate returns to the team after an eye socket injury meant he had to have a metal plate inserted into his face.
See what we mean about hard?
They’ll need every man against the physical South Africans, back on course after their shock defeat to Japan. Their coach is prepared, hoping even, for an arm wrestle, a front row battle and a blitz of direct running, all marshalled by the remarkable Fourie du Preez.
Effective, efficient, everything Wales weren’t against an Australian side reduced to 13 men. The Welsh proved against England they could pull a victory out of nowhere, and after the Lions, we should never underestimate Gatland’s ability to pull a team together no matter what. But how much more pain can one side take?