South Africa v Wales: Dan Biggar denies Springboks’ selection disrespects tourists
|Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein Date: Saturday, 9 July Kick-off: 16:05 BST|
|Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio Wales Extra – available via BBC Sounds, 882 MW and BBC Sport Online, Radio Cymru plus live text and match report on the BBC Sport website|
Wales captain Dan Biggar says he does not believe South Africa have devalued the series by making 14 starting changes for the second Test match.
Wales and British and Irish Lions legend Sir Gareth Edwards made this accusation and believes South Africa are disrespecting Wayne Pivac’s side.
“I don’t believe that, not at all,” said Biggar.
“If you look at the players they have picked this weekend, you would almost say they are the real in-form players.”
There are 19 changes in the 23-man Springboks squad from the team that defeated Wales 32-29 in Pretoria.
Lock Eben Etzebeth is the sole starting survivor and Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch and Damian Willemse named as replacements.
“I believe the team we are playing on Saturday is probably a team that is a little bit more match sharp because they have been playing more,” said Biggar.
“If you look at 12 for example [Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen] he has been the in-form player in the Premiership.
“They have swapped a World Cup winner and brilliant player in Damian de Allende for Esterhuizen and it certainly does not weaken them.
“There are lots of changes to the team, but I don’t believe many of the changes weaken their side.
“We are almost more wary because we are not quite sure what to expect. We know more about players like De Allende, Lukhanyo Am, Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi so we are little bit more cautious this week.”
Biggar will again lead Pivac’s team, with Alex Cuthbert recalled on the wing and inexperienced tight-head prop Sam Wainwright set for his debut off the bench.
Northampton fly-half Biggar added: “I know the side we played last weekend are renowned experienced World Cup winners.
“But this team have Pollard at 10, who is going to glue that together a little bit better, you would have thought.
“They have some really exciting form players in that team. When you look at the team and the names and I heard they had made 14 changes, I was wondering who they were going to bring in.
“When you see the teamsheet I don’t expect this to be anything other than a tough game on Saturday.
“We make changes every autumn when we play Georgia or Fiji or whoever it is. So there is nothing in it for me.
“South Africa can pick who they want and they are going to be strong whoever they put out.”