The sides meet at 15h00 (SA time) on Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 60 000 people, and with the match being hosted on neutral ground, it is expected to be a true spectacle.

The showdown will be the second time Du Toit has led the Springboks on to the field after last having the honour against the same opponents in Washington in 2018 – a Test the Boks lost 22-20.

“There are a few new players in our team, and we are playing in front of a big crowed at Twickenham, so this is a massive privilege for each player, and we want to make it a special occasion,” said Du Toit. “For me personally it’s a huge honour, not only to be in the match-day squad, but also to captain the team.

“It almost feels as though I have a special bond with Wales because I made my Test debut against them and captained the Boks against them before, and now I have another opportunity to do so.”

The Springboks may go into the match as favourites, after winning their second consecutive Rugby World Cup title last year in France, but Du Toit dismissed the notion, saying his charges were bracing themselves for a tough encounter.

“In our last 10 matches, we’ve each won five games, which shows that there are no easy Test matches against them,” said Du Toit. “They are very physical, and have big guys in their team. Over and above that, they play with a lot of heart, so we expect them to keep going until the final whistle. They are the type of team that always keeps coming hard at you.”

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick was equally wary of the threat Wales posed, but he said the Boks were excited for the clash for several reasons. 

“It’s the beginning of the season for us and there are a whole lot of things we are excited about,” said Stick. “We have a few new coaches, exciting young players, and new systems, so we are keen to take things forward.

“We had a good training camp in Pretoria and productive alignment camps earlier in the year, which allowed us to start laying a foundation as we build toward to 2027.”

Zoning in on what the coaches expect from the team, Stick said: “It will be important for us to continue building on the aspects we believe works for us, and to ensure that we do not attempt to try too many new things.

“It’s also vital that we pitch up physically and defend and kick well because those are key aspects to winning matches. So hopefully everything will come together nicely tomorrow.

“We really want to start the season well. We have a long and tough season lined up, so it would be great to do well and start the season on a positive note.”

Stick also spoke highly of Wales, saying: “They are a tough and well coached team, and they have a strong kicking game, so we have to play well for the full 80 minutes to get the desired result.”