Wales v South Africa: Springboks coach Erasmus expecting 'toughest test'

Eben Etzebeth in action for South Africa against Australia
Eben Etzebeth is better than 50-50 to face Wales, says Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus
Autumn international: Wales v South Africa
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 24 November Kick-off: 17:20 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two S4C, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus says Wales will provide the toughest test of their tour.

The Springboks are hoping to build on victories against France and Scotland after a narrow loss against England.

Wales are on an eight-match unbeaten run and aiming to complete a first autumn clean sweep after beating Scotland, Australia and Tonga.

"We have four tough matches on this tour but are ending probably with the toughest," said Erasmus.

Wales have won their last three games against the Springboks with home victories in 2016 and 2017 and a tour triumph in Washington DC in June 2018.

"We desperately want to win and it will be a physical and tactical test," added Erasmus.

"The way they manage the game is a typical northern hemisphere side and Warren Gatland really understands the technical side.

"To keep a job like this in a rugby-mad country for so long shows his quality. What I can see from him in this specific cycle is the way he is building depth for the World Cup."

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland will leave his role as Wales head coach after the 2019 World Cup

Captain Siya Kolisi is available after escaping with an official warning from World Rugby's citing commissioner for a head-butt incident in the 26-20 victory over Scotland.

Lock Eben Etzebeth also faces a fitness test on Tuesday on the leg injury that forced him off against England and resulted in him missing the wins over France and Scotland.

Erasmus says influential Sale Sharks scrum-half Faf de Klerk will miss the game because he wants to look at other nines like Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl.

De Klerk has been named on World Rugby's player of the year shortlist alongside fellow South African Malcolm Marx, New Zealand duo Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton.

De Klerk missed the victory over Scotland and was released back to Sale, although Erasmus has insisted there are no contractual issues.

Wales are ranked third in the world behind New Zealand and Ireland who defeated the All Blacks last weekend and Erasmus rates their World Cup chances.

Faf de Klerk prepares to kick for South Africa
Faf de Klerk has played 21 Tests for South Africa

"It's an open race," said Erasmus.

"New Zealand and Ireland are the clear favourites but Wales are hovering there and are almost like silent assassins at this stage.

"If we manage to beat Wales this weekend the only team we have not beaten who are real contenders is Ireland.

"That gives us hope but it will not be easy."

South Africa will be a different proposition from the team that lost in Cardiff last year with Erasmus taking over at the start of 2018.

It has still proved a mixed year of results but the Springboks managed a famous away win in New Zealand and lie fifth in the world rankings.

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All pictures: Huw Evans Agency

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