Tipuric: Louw one of the best
Wales star Justin Tipuric, ahead of next month’s Test against the Springboks, says Francois Louw is one of the best players he's come up against.
Wales star Justin Tipuric, ahead of next month’s Test against South Africa, says Springbok flank Francois Louw is one of the best players he has come up against.
Tipuric said it's vital Wales have a successful Test series next month despite a daunting fixture list that sees the Six Nations champions host against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia in consecutive weeks.
The flank, who came off the bench to help the British and Irish Lions clinch the series with a 41-16 third Test victory over Australia in July, recently took time to visit his old school, Cwmtawe Community School, to present them with their WRU School of Rugby award.
The school has produced numerous Wales internationals including former Wales centre Bleddyn Bowen, Wales and Lions scrum half Robert Jones, Tipuric and more recently Dan Baker, who was capped on the tour to Japan, and is one of 22 schools throughout Wales to be recognised for their commitment to developing and promoting rugby union within the school.
Tipuric and fellow Ospreys back row Baker took part in a question and answer session with school rugby players during which the Lions flank revealed his respect for Louw and spoke of the challenge that awaits Wales, starting with the well-rounded Springboks.
"South Africa showed in the last game of the Rugby Championship against New Zealand that they are able to spread the ball, along with providing an enormous physical threat," said Tipuric.
"In terms of the back row, Francois Louw is right up there as one of the best players I've come up against. Wales have the potential to beat South Africa but we will have to be clinical in everything we do.
"After South Africa, we certainly won't be underestimating Tonga, who have improved so much over the last few years. Whoever plays against them will have to be spot on to come out on top.
"Argentina will be bruised after the Rugby Championship, particularly after their heavy defeat to Australia in the final game, but they will bounce back and are always extremely competitive.
"We had a poor November last year, so we want to put that right this year and Australia to finish will be huge. After the Lions' series win, they will have most at stake, but they have a new coaching team and showed in beating Argentina 54-17 in the last round of the Rugby Championship what they are capable of."
Tipuric mentioned that former England World Cup winner Richard Hill was the player he most admired as a youngster and revealed that some of the knock backs he received growing up are what spurred him on to become the player he is today.
"I was told I was too small and too slow, which just made me work 10 times as hard to prove people wrong,” said Tipuric, who came through the ranks at Trebanos RFC and now helps coach the first team at the club.
The November internationals are just around the corner, but first, Tipuric is fully focussed on the Ospreys' European Cup campaign.
"There was a good feeling in the camp when the Lions players came back to training, but we've all had to work hard to get back in the Ospreys squad. Nothing is guaranteed and I honestly haven't looked beyond the European Cup at the moment,” he said.
The Ospreys travel to Northampton this weekend and then take on the Dragons at home in the Pro12 before attentions turn sharply to Wales and opening opponents South Africa.