South Africa made it three wins from three for the SANZAR nations on Saturday as they beat Wales 38-16 at Kings Park in Durban.
South Africa made it three wins from three for the SANZAR nations as they demolished Wales 38-16 on Saturday.
This won't be a phrase Welsh supporters will like to hear but it was men against boys in this first of two Tests, with the Bok power glaringly dominant as their big runners laid the platform for victory.
Wales will not take a great deal from the game, other than they'd be wise winning Pool A at the World Cup in order to avoid the Boks in a likely quarter-final. That message of course applies to both England and Australia ahead of next year.
The Welsh did come out of the blocks with real intent in Durban though as they looked to end their poor form against SANZAR sides, possibly guilty of blowing a big chance inside two minutes when Liam Williams' pass wasn't held by Alex Cuthbert on the right touchline. Had that gone to hand and not to land he was in for all money.
Fortunately for the full-back and wing, Wales did find consolation in the form of a Dan Biggar drop which put them 0-3 up on three minutes.
However, back came the Springboks via two of their attacking threats as Willie le Roux's smart chip was grounded superbly over the line by Bryan Habana, MornÃ© Steyn's successful conversion from wide out making it 7-3 for a score that settled the home players and fans.
An advantage on the scoreboard would become replicated numerically for the Boks on the thirteenth minute when Jamie Roberts was yellow carded for taking out Le Roux whilst he was in the air. Roberts was a picture of regret and replays showed there wasn't intent.
The South Africans grabbed the opportunity with both hands, Duane Vermeulen powering over following a sturdy line-out drive. It was now 14-3 before Le Roux and Habana combined again for the wing's brace to make it 21-6 following another smartly taken Biggar drop-goal.
Both outfits would have chances to add to their respective tally before the half-hour as first Jan Serfontein – in for Frans Steyn – was an inch away from grounding the ball over the line and then Wales showed poor basic skills in blowing numbers down the left touchline.
The latter-mentioned blunder would come back to haunt Wales before the break as that man Le Roux pounced from yet another chip, as South Africa's lead grew to 22 points before Biggar had the last say before half-time, knocking over a penalty goal for a 28-9 scoreline.
South Africa wanted more of the same in the second half and so it proved to be with twelve minutes gone, with a Steyn penalty and Cornal Hendricks' try from another Le Roux assist extending the margin. Steyn was kicking effortlessly as he landed the tough conversion.
Warren Gatland had no choice but to try his hand and bring on the pace of Gareth Davies, Matthew Morgan and other fresh legs up front. And it almost paid off in the form of a try for the scrum-half, who was denied after a searing run because Biggar's offload was forward.
There would be consolation before the end though as an individual score from Cuthbert that saw him break from his own 22, gliding past several defenders, gave Wales their first five-pointer of the game on 70 minutes. But by that point the game was well gone, with South Africa worthy winners as they tried but failed to finish with a sixth score in the dying embers.
For South Africa:
Tries: Habana 2, Vermeulen, Le Roux, Hendricks
Con: Steyn 5
Drop: Biggar 2
Yellow: Roberts (dangerous tackle – 13 mins)
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 MornÃ© Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Paul James, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 James Hook, 23 Matthew Morgan.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)