Ireland v South Africa, Croke Park, November 28
Wallace expecting fired-up Springboks
November 25, 2009
David Wallace is expecting a tough showdown with the Springboks © Getty Images
Ireland flanker David Wallace is expecting a fully-firing South Africa side to roll out at Croke Park on Saturday despite their recent slump in form.
Wallace found out first-hand how tough the Springboks can be in the colours of the British & Irish Lions over the summer, before the Boks powered to the Tri-Nations title, but they have slumped to a defeat against France and two midweek defeats to Leicester and Saracens in recent weeks.
With the game billed as the best of the north v the best of the south following Ireland's long-awaited Grand Slam, Wallace is expecting plenty of bite.
"I don't believe for a second that South Africa won't be at their best because it's the end of a long season," he said. "They'll be very aware of what's at stake in the game and that it's being billed as the best of the northern hemisphere against the best of the southern hemisphere.
"They'll be turning up to win and because of what's at stake they'll give everything. They'll raise their game for this. South Africa are always very physical and have some quality players. They have world-class guys who can turn a game at any stage with moments of individual brilliance. They do the basics very well and punish mistakes ruthlessly."
Tension has been raised ahead of the game by Springbok skipper John Smit's assertion that a senior Irish player prevented the Lions' players from meeting with their opponents for a drink following each Test match.
"I never detected any animosity. I wasn't aware of the invitation to join the Springboks, so I'm not the senior Irish player he is talking about!" Wallace said. "It was great to be picked for the Lions but at the end of the day we lost the series and we want to step it up a gear. It's brilliant to be getting another chance to play them so soon."