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Wales have ‘nothing to lose’ in Springboks showdown – Taine Plumtree

19 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Wales’ Taine Plumtree and England’s Henry Slade and Jack van Poortvliet battle for the ball. Ben Whitley/PA Wire.

Wales flanker Taine Plumtree will adopt a “nothing to lose” approach as he prepares for his Test match return on Saturday.

Plumtree is back on the international stage after 10 months away, gaining a starting place against world champions South Africa at Twickenham.

It has been a challenging period for the 24-year-old, who suffered a shoulder injury last summer that effectively ended his World Cup hopes, before missing the entire Six Nations because of similar problems.

Swansea-born Plumtree, whose father John is head coach of South African United Rugby Championship side the Sharks, impressed on his two previous Wales appearances in World Cup warm-up games against England.

Golden opportunity

He is highly regarded by the Wales management and now has a golden opportunity to showcase his quality, with the Springboks on Wales’ immediate agenda followed by a two-Test Australia tour.

“Facing the Springboks is obviously going to be a challenge, but it is the best time for us as a team to show what we are made of and to really test ourselves,” Scarlets forward Plumtree said.

“I am just going to go into this week feeling I have got nothing to lose, we have got nothing to lose and hopefully put out a performance that will help us to build into the summer tour.

“Any team that plays against the Springboks knows that they want to control the game through their pack and how physical they can be.

“Regardless of who they pick, that is going to be their mindset. Our mindset has to be going up against that and giving it back to them.

“I think the only way is forward for us. How we do that is something that we as a team and a management group will sort out among ourselves.

“Right now, we just want to bring back that real fight that Wales have always had. Hopefully, throughout the next four games (Wales also face Queensland Reds in Brisbane) we can show that we are building into the autumn.”

Sharks

Plumtree senior masterminded the Sharks’ recent EPCR Challenge Cup final success, when they beat Gloucester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and eight of his squad are involved in South Africa’s matchday 23 against Wales.

“I went to stay with them in London before the Challenge Cup final,” Plumtree added.

“It was quite cool because I would go down to breakfast and the players would come up and shake my hand and give my mum a hug.

“I got to know a few of the boys. Phepsi Buthelezi is a good man, and Aphelele Fassi is starting at full-back, and it will be good to see him out there.”

Plumtree spent six years living in South Africa, but he appeared on Wales head coach Warren Gatland’s radar while playing for Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.

He was selected in Wales’ 2023 World Cup training squad and looked on course to feature at that tournament before injury struck.

“I came over to Wales without any expectations,” he said. “I was told I was joining for the pre-World Cup training.

“I thought I would just be in there for Switzerland and Turkey (training camps), but being able to play a couple of capped games was something I didn’t think could happen.

“I was just grateful and honoured to be able to represent Wales. It was unbelievable.

“Each nation I have come from has completely different styles of rugby.

“The Springboks have a physical mindset, the All Blacks don’t stop running and Wales are very hearty and never stop. If I could have some of all three in my bag, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.”


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Riki
Riki
25 days ago

Yes you do! Respect!!!! You want to be a laughing stock by losing 90-0?

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