Boks to face 'ridiculously good' Faletau

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 15:29

INTERVIEW: It looks almost certain that Wales are going to unleash their Tonga-born battering ram Taulupe Faletau on South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday.

Despite having played just on an hour since returning from a knee injury, Welsh assistant coach Neil Jenkins was singing the burly No.8's praises.

The 26-year-old, who already has 60-odd Test caps, was in devastating form in training this week.

Jenkins told the media in Cardiff that it was hard to believe Faletau had been out of action, given the way he has performed in training with the national squad.

The back row is one area where Wales are blessed with strength in depth, with Ross Moriarty and James King featuring at No.8 in the three year-end fixtures so far.

However, Jenkins feels Faletau is the man to help Wales overcome a desperate Springbok team.

"I think Toby's a ridiculously good player," the Welsh kicking coach said.

"Watching him in training, it doesn't look like he has been out.

"He only played 55 minutes [for Bath, in the English Premiership], but he's a class act, a world-class No.8, one of the best on the planet.

"For us to have him fit and back in the mix, and back training, is a fantastic addition to our squad."

Jenkins was in the Wales team that toppled the Springboks for the first time ever in 1999.

Tries for Mark Taylor and Gareth Thomas, both set up by passes from Jenkins, helped Graham Henry's side clinch a famous 29-19 win.

"It's a long time ago," added Jenkins.

"I think there was only 27,000 there [the Millennium Stadium hadn't been finished], but I remember the noise the crowd brought that day.

"It was the first game at the Millennium Stadium and there was an incredible atmosphere, even though the stadium was nowhere near being half full.

"I was lucky to be involved that day and we took the opportunities when they came.

"We also managed to do it a couple of years ago [2014], and hopefully we front up and are ready to go on Saturday.

"It will be a very tough encounter on Saturday but we are more than capable of getting over the line again."

Source: South Wales Argus