Newport legend Gary Teichmann predicts Wales v South Africa classic
NEWPORT legend Gary Teichmann believes Wales and South Africa are evenly matched going into their eagerly-anticipated clash at the Millennium Stadium next month.
The Springboks great will be back at Rodney Parade in a fortnight where there is a dinner in his honour.
The popular number eight, who captained the Black and Ambers and led the Boks during one of the most successful periods in their history, will also be at the match on Saturday, November 9 when Six Nations champions Wales host the Rugby Championship runners-up.
The night before he will be busy at ‘An Evening with Gary Teichmann’ where he will meet up with many of his old comrades from the Newport side which he skippered when they beat Neath 13-9 in the 2001 Principality Cup final.
Teichmann joined the Black Ambers in 1999, the same year as fellow Springboks star Franco Smith and Wales great Shane Howarth, at a time when benefactor Tony Brown’s ambitious plans saw them become a real force in the British game.
Teichmann, one of the most successful captains in Springboks history who skippered them to a record 17 consecutive Test match wins which included clinching the 1998 Tri Nations series, is looking forward to returning to his old club.
“It will be great to come back to Newport and see the guys again and watch the game the next day,” he said.
“I had some good times with Newport and the move came at a difficult point in my career and I remember the people there really welcomed me.
“We probably didn’t achieve as much as would have wanted to but we did give it our best shot.”
Wales have a woeful record against South Africa, having won just once in 26 encounters, losing 24 times and drawing a 6-6 stalemate in 1970.
They should have recorded their second victory at the World Cup in 2011, but it was a familiar tale of woe as they fell just short in a 17-16 setback in Wellington when Newport Gwent Dragons number eight Toby Faletau crossed for a try.
Teichmann believes next month’s game could be a cracker and hopes the Boks show the same adventure in the autumn as they did in the Rugby Championship which they came close to winning before going down to the mighty All Blacks in a sensational 38-27 classic at Ellis Park.
“I haven’t see too much of Wales but they impressed me during the World Cup in New Zealand and I think, like South Africa, they are improving all the time,” he said.
“The Springboks made too many silly mistakes against the All Blacks last month which you simply can’t do against New Zealand – although they were chasing four tries for a bonus point win.
“And New Zealand were allowed to score just before half-time which let them back in the game.
“But South Africa are playing some very exciting rugby and have some quality young players coming through.
“South Africa just want to keep improving all the time and they are playing a good brand of rugby under their coach Heyneke Meyer – they’ve shown they can play with width and there are some exciting backs out there.
“I just hope they don’t go back into their shell because they have proved they can play an expansive game.”
• Tickets are still available for ‘An Evening with Gary Teichmann and Friends’ rugby dinner taking place at Rodney Parade on Friday, November 8 at 7.30pm, the eve of the Wales v South Africa autumn international clash.
Sponsored by the South Wales Argus, he will be joined by many of his team-mates from that Principality Cup triumph, including Ian Gough, Matthew J Watkins, Alix Popham, Dale Burn, Shane Howarth and Jason Forster.
The event will also support the efforts of ex-Wales, Newbridge, Pontypool and Ebbw Vale back Byron Hayward who is raising money and awareness for ocular melanoma (a type of eye cancer) charity OcuMel UK.
Tickets are available from www.theeventsroom.co.uk or on 0845 108 5690 (office hours).
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