Evan Roos preparing for physical battle upfront against never-say-die Welsh

Evan Roos preparing for physical battle upfront against never-say-die Welsh

Springbok No. 8 Evan Roos expected a physical battle against Wales on Saturday as the team kicks off their 2024 international season at Twickenham.

Roos says the Welsh have a similar demeanour to South Africans in their approach to Test rugby.

The Springboks wrapped up their preparations on home soil on Tuesday with their final training session in Pretoria, with the touring squad of 30 players named by coach Rassie Erasmus set to depart for London on Wednesday night. The players excluded from the travelling squad, in turn, will return home.

Roos - who last ran out in the green and gold in the team's Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Argentina in Buenos Aires in August last year - which the Boks won 24-13 - will earn his sixth Test cap in the clash and he was delighted to be back in the national team.

"It's awesome to be back in the team, and everyone is very excited about the match," said Roos.

"We want to build on what the team has done in the last six years, so there's a massive responsibility on us to start off this weekend with a bang."

Roos will feature in an exciting loose trio with Rugby World Cup winners Kwagga Smith and Bok captain Pieter-Steph du Toit and he spoke highly of the Bok forwards  which includes seven forwards in the starting team that were in the squad for last year's extravaganza in France, where the Boks were triumphant in the World Cup final against New Zealand in October last year.

"I'll be playing with a bunch of Rugby World Cup winners in the pack, which makes my job much easier," said Roos.

"I've known these guys for about three years, and it certainly gets more comfortable each time I'm in camp."

The tough No 8 expected a hard grind against the Welsh who will be determined to make a strong statement after winning only one of their five Six Nations games earlier in the season and said: "They are a lot like us South Africans. They are hard-working and humble people, so we expect them to give everything for the full 80 minutes.

"Much like us they are willing to go to dark places, so we are anticipating a hard grind up front.

"They are a physical pack, so I think it's going to be a proper Test match this weekend."

Roos said it was important to start 2024 on a strong note to set the tone for the rest of the season, which includes the Castle Lager Incoming Series, Castle Lager Rugby Championship, and a challenging UK tour in November.

"It's an important Test, so it will be vital to implement what we've been working on at training," said Roos. "Every team plays to win, so we'll definitely do our best this weekend and try to make it as easy as possible and special for the guys making their debuts."

The four players on debut are Jordan Hendrikse (flyhalf), Edwill van der Merwe (wing) - who have been named in the starting lineup - Ben-Jason Dixon (utility forward) and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back) - who will feature on the replacements bench.