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 MornÚ 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 MornÚ 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 Gurthr÷ 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
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00