Planet Rugby

Springboks resist Welsh comeback

09th November 2013 19:23

Share:

South Africa s Jean de Villiers C goes over for a try despite the efforts of Wales Jonathan Davies L and Wales Mike Phillips

Brilliant try: Jean de Villiers

South Africa kicked their November tour off with a 24-15 victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

The pre-game hype revolved around Wales being billed as a pseudo-Lions team, but unlike what we saw in Australia, this team in red was unable to out-muscle their southern hemisphere opponents as the Springboks used their big men and rolling maul to devastating effect, outscoring the Six Nations champions three tries to none.

After twenty minutes Wales looked set for a drubbing as the visitors raced to a 17-6 lead. The tourists led 17-12 at the break but saw the hosts fight back to cut the gap to just two points heading into the final quarter.

The truth be told, Wales never really got on top of their visitors and had to rely on all their points coming from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny.

Halfpenny and Morné Steyn traded early penalties as referee Alain Rolland stamped his authority on the game. The message was clear, there would be no leeway at the ruck and the penalties would flow thick and fast.

Jonathan Davies made his second break of the opening seven minutes to set up more points for Wales, again a penalty on the deck, but the Springboks would reply with their first try.

A brilliant 50-odd metre break from Bryan Habana had the Welsh defence scrambling. Bismarck du Plessis was up in support and left Liam Williams seeing stars as he charged forward before finding skipper Jean de Villiers, who showed outstanding skill to latch onto the pass behind his back and crash over.

Steyn's conversion put South Africa 10-6 ahead as the hosts were forced to re-jig their back-line with both Davies and Liam Williams forced off after 12 minutes.

The Springboks' second try was soon to follow, a display of pure power, as Du Plessis muscled his way over off the back of a rolling maul. Steyn's conversion was his last contribution as he too was forced from the field, meaning Pat Lambie moved to fly-half with the scores at 17-6.

Halfpenny pulled six points back via two more ruck penalties to keep Wales in the contest and when Francois Louw was yellow carded for a bit of unnecessary argy-bargy just before the break, the home side and the home crowd, were in much higher spirits as the teams swapped ends at 17-12.

The scores would not budge until the 55th minute when Halfpenny found the target for the fifth time in five attempts to cut the deficit to just two points.

Confusion reigned when Rolland sent off both Gethin Jenkins and Coenie Oosthuizen (who had only just come on) as his patience ran out with the consistent collapsed scrums. Ten minutes of uncontested scrums followed.

South Africa's third try was made in Japan as Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie combined to give their side some breathing room. Du Preez's deft chip down the touchline was collect by the veteran centre, who miraculously found a gap to put his scrum-half clear.

Lambie's conversion left Wales trailing by nine points with ten minutes left on the clock and despite some late pressure, the hosts would fall well short.

Man of the match: A mention for Fourie du Preez, who once again pulled the tactical strings and scored a fabulous try. But we'll go with Bismarck du Plessis thanks to his role in setting up one try and scoring another.

Moment of the match: Wales were always going to struggle after Jean de Villiers's early try. Beyond being an outstanding try, it meant Wales were chasing the game for the rest of the evening.

Villain of the match: The pitch. Test match rugby is supposed to be the pinnacle of the professional game, but the quality of the surface wasn't worthy of much more than a rural club fixture.

The scorers:

For Wales:
Pens: Halfpenny 5
Yellow cards: Jenkins (58th min - scrum infringement)

For South Africa:
Tries: De Villiers, Du Plessis, Du Preez
Cons: Steyn 2, Lambie
Pen: Steyn
Yellow cards: Louw (35th min - foul play); Oosthuizen (58th min - scrum infringement)

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 James Hook, 23 Ashley Beck.

South Africa: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 JJ Engelbrecht, 23 Willie le Roux.

Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26