Wales will enter the clash off the back of a 54-16 defeat against New Zealand at home last week, while the Springboks come off a 31-29 victory against the All Blacks in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship a month ago.
Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids and flank Kwagga Smith both emphasised the need to build winning momentum with another two Tests lined up after this clash - against Scotland in Edinburgh and England in London respectively - before they return home, but they warned that Wales will be a tough side to beat.
“We are happy with the way we performed in the last game against New Zealand,” said Davids.
“They are always a tough competitor, and it will be important for us to carry on that momentum into our next game. We face Wales this weekend and we’ll take this tour match by match.
“It’s always tough coming here (to Cardiff). We haven’t won here in five years and the match against Wales in the Rugby World Cup was a hard grind, so our focus is on preparing as well as we can.”
Davids did not attach much significance to Wales’ defeat against the All Blacks last weekend in the absence of a number of star players due to the Test falling outside of the international window and said the Boks’ record against Wales in Cardiff was more relevant to the challenge they would face on Saturday.
“When you are playing against one of the top two teams in the world, it will always be a tough game,” said Davids.
“Wales had a few injuries, which may have stopped their momentum, and over and above that the match was competitive for the first 60 minutes, so it could have gone either way.
“We know Wales will be up for this game and they’ll be very competitive, and we have to be up for it in all areas of the match.
“There are some players who played for the British & Irish Lions who will be back, such as (Louis) Rees-Zammit and (Taulupe) Faletau, and they have a lot of quality and experience up front and young players coming through as well.”
Responding to the blow the possible absence of British & Irish Lions and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones could deal to the home side after he left the field against the All Blacks with a shoulder injury, Davids and Smith their leadership core was strong enough to remain a top force.
“It’s a big loss for any team if you lose your captain, especially someone with so much experience and with a unique skillset,” said Davids.
“But they have a lot of quality leaders in the team who can take them forward.”
Smith, who made his Springbok debut against Wales in Washington DC in 2018, added: “It would be big to lose their captain, but it may be something that could be treated, so perhaps he could still play. That said, they have several quality leaders in the squad that can fulfil that role.”
Smith was delighted to be back on the field and in the squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour and said: “It was good to be home with our families for two weeks, and our training camp in France was also great to get back into game mode and training after the time off.
“We had a few off-field activities as well with an eye on the 2023 Rugby World Cup, but it was good to get back into the swing of things.”
The energetic flanker said while there would always be emotions in a Test match, there were no links between these Tests and winning the series against British & Irish Lions for the visitors.
“The Castle Lager Lions Series is in the past for us,” said Smith.
“This is a different tour, and we’ll be playing in different conditions, so our focus is on taking things week by week and game by game.”