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Rupert Wyman 4th Jun 2010 - 18:30

Wales to finally beat South Africa again

It was 11 years ago when Wales recorded their one and only victory over South Africa and at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday they could well pick up their second success.

South Africa may be the world champions but they line-up without a number of their stars for this Test after last week's gruelling Super 14 final between the Bulls and the Stormers.

To make things worse for the Springboks they have been involved in a bitter club v country row over the selection of Bath's Butch James.

As a result James is unable to play and it has left a bitter taste in the mouth something which the IRB's international window is meant to avoid happening.

Nevertheless James' presence would not have made much difference to South Africa's XV other than a little more experience as in his place is the Stormers' Juan de Jongh who makes his debut.

Their line-up is far from full strength as it includes two other debutants, two more uncapped players on the bench and four players who ply their trade in Europe who have been given shock call-ups.

Therefore Wales will hardly ever have a better chance than now to seal their second victory over the Springboks and at 10/11 look well worth a bet.

Wales did not have had a great Six Nations, with just two wins over Scotland and Italy, but there is plenty of talent in their XV, especially has James Hook has delayed his shoulder surgery by a week to play through the pain barrier yet again.

It should not be straight forward for Warren Gatland's side though as they are also missing some key players themselves in Shane Williams, Andy Powell, Gethin Jenkins and Martyn Williams.

South Africa will also be keen not to give Wales a psychological advantage ahead of next year's World Cup when the sides will face each other in the pool stage.

In addition the confidence coming out of the Welsh camp has riled the Springboks' coach Peter de Villiers so he will undoubtedly have his side fired up for this clash.

Consequently I expect the match to be close but Wales to just come out on top and edge it by 1-5 points (9/2).

Wales will have to be careful though that they do not come into the game in over-confident mood as they must remember that they are still facing the world champions which is still full of talent, even if it isn't their first-choice XV.

Those players that aren't usually in the Springboks' XV have a point to prove and what better way to prove it to De Villiers than by destroying Wales' confidence and beating them at the Millennium Stadium?

As a result Wales' captain Ryan Jones will have a crucial role to play in keeping his side's feet firmly on the ground and to not take the win for granted.

Before they get too carried away the Welsh side will do well to remember that history is against them with their record of just one win in 104 years and 23 Tests, as well as their relatively poor form in this year's Six Nations.

Nevertheless Wales' greater preparation for the match as well as the inclusion of the creative Hook at centre should stand them in good stead as they bid to re-write the record books.



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