Jesse Kriel backs Bok DNA to break Cardiff curse

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Jesse Kriel during a Springboks training session. (Photo by Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images)
Jesse Kriel during a Springboks training session. (Photo by Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images)
  • Springbok wing Jesse Kriel expects Wales to come hard at them when they meet in Cardiff on Saturday.
  • The Boks haven't won in Cardiff since 2013.
  • Kriel said they've become a better side since their last trip to the Welsh capital in 2018.

Saturday's Test against Wales may be the first one the Springboks will be playing against their hosts without Warren Gatland as coach in more than 10 years, but Jesse Kriel is assured that their DNA hasn't changed.

Gatland had a fair bit of success against the Boks in Cardiff, but lost the games that truly mattered, even when coaching the British & Irish Lions.

While the Welsh are expected to make several injury-enforced changes after their bruising encounter against the All Blacks last week, Kriel said they need to focus on what will work for them.

"You always have an idea of what a team is going to bring and what is their DNA going into a game," Kriel said.

"There's always the 20-25 percent of not knowing what they're going to bring, but it's more about focusing on our systems and doing things the way we want to.

"We need to dominate the physical part of things and the rest will sort itself out. It's more a case of focussing on what we do well and enforcing it on other teams."

Wales's ability to meet the Boks' physical challenge has been at the heart of their recent wins since 2014.

Kriel has only won one of his four encounters against Wales, but it was the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal at Twickenham.

In the subsequent three matches in Cardiff and Washington, Kriel was on the losing side. 

Kriel acknowledged that Wales was the better side on those occasions, but they're a different team now.

"They had a different coaching staff back then, but they had a simple game they executed very well," Kriel said.

"We didn't handle it as well as we should have in those two games, but that's something we're aware of and we've worked hard on.

"We've also come a long way as a team and that's something we're also able to do to teams."




South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

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