Wales challenged to ‘create a bit of history’ on South Africa tour

The upcoming series against the Springboks in South Africa poses a major challenge

<p>The upcoming series against the Springboks in South Africa poses a major challenge</p>

The upcoming series against the Springboks in South Africa poses a major challenge

Adam Beard wants Wales to be history-makers on their tour of South Africa.

The odds are stacked against last year’s Guinness Six Nations champions across a three-Test series that begins on Saturday.

Wales’ degree of difficulty is increased by the opening two games – in Pretoria and Bloemfontein – being at altitude.

And they have also never beaten the Springboks in South Africa, losing all 10 previous Tests, with many of those results being comprehensive defeats.

“It is obviously going to be tough, physically and mentally,” Wales lock Beard said. “We are in a really good space as a squad. We’ve trained well and we know what is on the line here – to create our own bit of history.

“It would be an awesome feeling going out there and creating that history. The boys are ready, the boys are raring to go, and we can’t wait to get stuck into it.”

Beard is likely to be among a number of British and Irish Lions on last year’s South Africa tour featuring in Wales’ starting line-up.

And that experience, albeit in games behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, will undoubtedly be beneficial for Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

Beard added: “It was the experience of going on the tour, meeting guys from different countries, learning off people.

They are a big physical team that pride themselves on the set-piece and being physical and direct

Wales lock Adam Beard

“To get a Test match (appearance) was an unbelievable experience. Looking at South Africa, they are a big physical team that pride themselves on the set-piece and being physical and direct.

“Those are the sort of games that I enjoy and I feel like it’s when I come up trumps and I can use my points of difference.”

Pivac is due to announce his starting line-up on Thursday for Wales’ first clash against the Springboks in South Africa since 2014.

And there are likely to be a number of changes from the side beaten 22-21 by Six Nations opponents Italy three months ago.

Three of that team – Johnny McNicholl, Uilisi Halaholo and Seb Davies – are not on the tour, but Pivac is boosted by players like George North and Dan Lydiate being available following long-term injuries.

Both players have been out of Test rugby for more than a year, last featuring in Wales colours during the 2021 Six Nations.

North looks set to start at outside centre, while 34-year-old Lydiate could reclaim the number six shirt.

Elsewhere, full-back Liam Williams, scrum-half Tomos Williams and prop Tomas Francis are set for returns.

And Pivac must decide whether to retain 150 times-capped Alun Wyn Jones in the second row, with Beard and Will Rowlands also pushing hard for starting places.

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