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South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is braced for a tough physical battle against a Wales team that “does not give an inch” on Saturday.
The world champions are overwhelming favourites to start the three-Test series with victory in Pretoria.
A second game in Bloemfontein – also at altitude – follows seven days later before the series concludes in Cape Town on July 16.
“Wales are a side that does not give an inch – they will stand up physically for the whole 80 minutes,” Kolisi said.
“They are also tough people, so they will go toe-to-toe with us.
“The set-pieces are going to be important and they like the high ball, so we respect them, and we know that we have to pitch up on the day and with the right attitude.”
The Springboks will be roared on by a capacity 50,000 crowd at Loftus Versfeld.
And it is the first time for them to play in front of a full house on home soil since they won the World Cup 32 months ago.
The coronavirus pandemic meant crowds were not allowed for last year’s Test series against the British and Irish Lions, which South Africa won 2-1.
Kolisi added: “We are all excited about playing in front of a packed Loftus Versfeld.
“The last time we played at home in front of fans was at Loftus against Argentina before the Rugby World Cup.
“The people have missed us, and we have missed playing in front of them, so we are excited to go out there and hopefully we can make the people proud and build momentum.
“Winning doesn’t take away people’s problems, but it does give them something positive to think about, and that has a much deeper meaning for us as a team.
“Putting smiles on people’s faces is what drives us every weekend, and that is why getting good results is so important for us and why we feel so disappointed when things don’t go well.”