Taine Plumtree adamant Wales have ‘nothing to lose’ against Springboks

FILE - Wales's teammates sing their anthem prior to a Six Nations game. Photo: Geoff Caddick/AFP

FILE - Wales's teammates sing their anthem prior to a Six Nations game. Photo: Geoff Caddick/AFP

Published Jun 19, 2024


Wales flanker Taine Plumtree plans to adopt a "nothing to lose" approach when he makes his Test-match return against world champions South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Plumtree has been selected in Warren Gatland's starting XV to face the Springboks, having been sidelined for 10 months with a shoulder injury that effectively ended his hopes of appearing at last year's World Cup and kept him out of the entire Six Nations.

Wales-born Plumtree, whose New Zealander father John is head coach of South African side the Sharks, starred on his two Test appearances in World Cup warm-up games against England.

And he now has the chance to impress again, with this weekend's match against South Africa followed by Wales' two-Test tour of Australia.

"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 back-row Plumtree said Wednesday, with Wales on a run of six successive defeats.

"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."

Both teams will be under-strength on Saturday as the match falls outside World Rugby's official window for international matches, meaning players at overseas clubs, including France-based Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, do not have to be released.

'Give it back to them'

But Plumtree, 24, insisted South Africa, who will be playing their first match first since being crowned world champions for a record fourth time, represented a formidable challenge all the same.

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

"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."

John Plumtree oversaw the Sharks' recent Challenge Cup final win over Gloucester at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, with eight members of his squad in the Springboks' matchday 23 to play Wales.

"I went to stay with them in London before the Challenge Cup final," said Taine Plumtree.

"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 came to Gatland's attention while playing for Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.

"Each nation I have come from has completely different styles of rugby," said Plumtree.

"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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