Planet Rugby

Wales fall short in Pretoria

14th June 2008 15:42

Share:

Ricky Januarie

Dead Red: Ricky Januarie skips a tackle to score

South Africa secured a two-nil series victory over a spirited Wales thanks to a 37-21 victory in Pretoria on Saturday.

A vastly improved Wales side twice led but were unable to capitalise on either position and ultimately paid the price for their lack of composure.

They will however take great heart from their performance but will be left to rue a slow opening quarter, after which they found themselves trailing 14-3.

The alarm bells would have been ringing when South Africa crossed for their second try in the opening twenty minutes.

At that stage images of cricket scores began to flash through the mind, but it was not to be. Wales snapped out of their lull and took the game to their hosts, and to some effect too.

Having been bullied at the breakdown in the first Test, Wales had a point to prove, and they did just that by taking the game to their hosts in a controlled and physical manner.

The breakdown, South Africa's by right last week, was evenly contested, and Jonathan Thomas had a sterling game at openside flanker, allowing his team cleaner ball to attack with.

But for an early penalty from Stephen Jones, Wales struggled to contain their hosts in the opening twenty minutes, seemingly just hanging on.

It didn't take the Springboks long to cross for their first try, a five-metre driving maul was grinding to a halt inches short of the line when Jean de Villiers pounced to set South Africa on their way.

A second try after just 18 minutes, scored by Ricky Januarie but created by Victor Matfield's deft handling, and Wales were looking tired and facing the prospect of another hammering, yet they managed to muster a rousing effort to haul themselves back into the game.

They hit back almost immediately, a clever line-out move freeing Gareth Cooper down the flank, who stepped inside a despairing Tonderai Chavanga to restore Welsh belief.

With Jones adding the extras Wales were back in the game, and what's more they took the lead after half an hour, thanks to Shane Williams's stunning solo-try.

A loose ball was gathered on the half way line before Williams skipped past John Smit and set off for the line. With space running out and four defenders covering, the game seemed up.

That was before some scintillating footwork turned the defenders inside-out and afforded Williams the half of yard of space he needed to waltz over in the corner.

Sadly for Wales they were unable to build on their lead, and a late Butch James penalty ensured South Africa went into the break with their noses in front.

The break did Wales the world of good, as they came out with an intensity not seen thus far on their tour and again they managed to take the lead.

Two penalties from Jones trumping James's single effort at goal. A one-point lead and Wales were twenty minutes from creating history.

That was until their poor discipline cost them dear, James kicking his side back into the lead before a series of quick tap penalties lead to De Villiers' second try, and at that stage Wales were high and dry. They did have a chance to narrow the gap but Jones pushed his effort wide, and with that Wales knew the game was up.

To make matters worse Bismarck du Plessis crossed for a try as the hooter sounded, adding salt to the Welsh wounds and giving the final score a slightly skew look.

That said, one thing is for certain, their performance here will have defiantly earned them the respect they came here hunting.

They were much improved from the first Test and proved that they can compete with the world's best. It leaves one thinking how different it will be in November when Wales have a full squad and home advantage.

But, again, Peter de Villiers's side showed their class and clear potential to develop into one of the great Springbok teams.

Whilst Wales leave without a win on tour they do so safe in the knowledge that, in at least one of the Tests, they gave the Springboks a good run for their money.

No games won but plenty of respect earned for the manner in which they rose to the challenge here in Pretoria.

Man of the Match: Hats off to Wales for bouncing back in fine fashion. Jamie Roberts was solid at inside centre, Gareth Cooper had a much better game at nine and the pack competed in every facet of the game. For South Africa, Victor Matfield was hugely impressive, as was Juan Smith. But we are going with Jean de Villiers, not just for his two scores but for an outstanding display of rugby both in attack and defence. Always looking to create something, he was a constant thorn in the Welsh side.

Moment of the Match: Call us old romantics but it has to be Shane Williams's try. The Boks were reminded of his danger last week when he raced over, and again he produced a stunning solo effort. Gathering the ball on half way he skipped past the despairing clutches of John Smit before turning four defenders inside-out to race over in the corner. A magical score.

Villain of the Match: Whilst it was physical, both teams were focused on playing rugby, and a fine job they did too.

The scorers:

For South Africa:

Tries: De Villiers 2, Januarie, Du Plessis

Cons: James 4

Pens: James 3

For Wales:

Tries: Cooper, S.Williams

Con: S.Jones

Pens: S.Jones 3

The teams:

South Africa: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Tonderai Chavanga, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Francois Steyn, 22 Percy Montgomery.

Wales: 15 James Hook, 14 Mark Jones, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Jonathan Thomas, 6 Ryan Jones (c), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Ian Evans, 19 Dafydd Jones, 20 Warren Fury, 21 Andrew Bishop, 22 Tom James.

Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Dave Pearson (England), Stuart Terheege (England)

Television match official: Geoff Warren (England)

Assessor: Patrick Robin (France)

By Marcus Leach in Pretoria

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821