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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Heavy legs and burning lungs didn’t damper Ox Nche’s Springbok return

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His chest was burning and his legs were a bit heavy afterwards, but Springbok prop Ox Nche was a happy camper after playing his first Test of the season off the bench on Saturday when South Africa drubbed Wales by 52-16 in Cardiff.

Nche returned from a pectoral muscle injury and fired the Bok scrum in the second half to keep the pressure on the Welsh, who struggled to stand their ground in the set-piece.

“It feels great to be back on the field representing the country, I can get a lot of confidence out of the game,” Nche said after the match.

In the first half, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Malcolm Marx scrummed the home team into submission, winning penalty after penalty.

When Nche came on alongside Vincent Koch and Bongi Mbonambi, they did not take their foot off their opponents’ necks and kept on strangling them in the scrum.

Nche also had some rock-solid carries, especially close to Wales’ tryline and he made some solid tackles as head coach Jacques Nienaber eased him back into the fold in the second half.

“That was our plan. We did pretty good analysis on it (the scrum) in the week. And we worked on it and won.

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“As South Africans, that is one of our main pillars. We put a lot of hard work into that, and it is good to see things going our way,” Nche said.

“It’s a good result for us. We executed what we wanted to. But we must also consider the fact that they played a pretty young squad.

“So, not to take anything away from them, they played really well. The ball just bounced in our favour.”

Another standout performer was Bok winger Canan Moodie, who scored a brace of tries and made himself count on the defence and under the high ball.

The 20-year-old again showed his credentials and is pushing for a place in the World Cup starting XV.

“I just wanted to make the most of this opportunity as we have a lot of competition in the back three,” Moodie said.

“It was about going out and taking that opportunity I was given. It was very special coming onto the Principality Stadium in front of 60 000 plus people.

“We knew it was going to be tough. Putting a record score on Wales in Wales just doesn’t happen. We can take a lot of confidence from it.”

@LeightonK

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