Springboks out to end tour in style


SOUTH AFRICA'S captain, Gary Teichmann, admits the gloss has been taken off South Africa's World Cup triumph by their series defeat against New Zealand last summer.

But the Springboks will be firing on all cylinders when they complete a punishing 13-Test programme when they meet Wales on Sunday in Cardiff.

Both Teichmann and coach Andre Markgraaf refused to accept it could be one international too far following successive 2-0 series triumphs over Argentina and France.

And although the South Africans are enjoying a low-key buildup - swimming and gymnasium sessions the norm this week - Teichmann believes Wales provide them with sufficient incentive to round off their global tour in style.

"This will be our 13th international this year, but I don't think it is a question of us playing too many Test matches," said the Natal number eight.

Despite inevitable fatigue, South Africa are unchanged for the fifth successive Test, including world Cup heroes Andre Joubert, Joost van der Westhuizen and Ruben Kruger against Wales.

"When we left for Argentina we set out to win all five Tests, which is also the attitude we will take against Wales. We expect a very hard match," Teichmann added.

Wales, desperate to regain lost pride after the 28-19 defeat by Australia 10 days ago, continued their preparations yesterday.

But centre Gareth Thomas is still struggling with the mouth injury he suffered playing for Bridgend in a Welsh League match at Pontypridd last Saturday.

Coach Kevin Bowring insists Thomas, with seven tries in 12 internationals, will be fit, although time is starting to run out.

Argentina will have a new look front row when they run out on Saturday for the second test against England.

Carlos Promanzio wins his fifth cap as Argentina's hooker when he replaces Federico Mendez.

Experienced Mendez played in the two defeats by South Africa last month but has joined Bath and was unavailable for the current tour.

The Pumas make four other changes from the side that lost the second Test 44-21 to the Springboks last month.

Mauricio Reggiardo comes into the front-row, Pablo Bouza is at number eight, Gonzalo Quesada plays fly-half and Gonzalo Camardon is on the right wing.