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South Africa eventually subdue a depleted Wales

By PA
Jessie Kriel whooping with joy - PA

Weakened Wales produced a battling performance before world champions South Africa turned on the power to triumph 41-13 at Twickenham.

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Despite conceding two tries and collecting two yellow cards during the opening 15 minutes, Warren Gatland’s team defied most pre-match odds by making it a contest until two late South African scores.

Wales’ list of absentees – players either injured, unavailable or rested – ran comfortably into double figures and they were widely expected to suffer a crushing defeat.

But they trailed only 14-13 at half-time following a try for captain Dewi Lake, with fly-half Sam Costelow adding two penalties and a conversion.

The Springboks, who are building for a two-Test series against fellow heavyweights Ireland in July, often struggled to impose themselves on a first outing since retaining the World Cup eight months ago.

Fixture
Internationals
South Africa
41 - 13
Full-time
Wales
All Stats and Data

There were touchdowns for centre Jesse Kriel, wings Makazole Mapimpi and Edwill van der Merwe and hooker Bongi Mbonambi, plus a penalty try, while debutant number 10 Jordan Hendrikse kicked a penalty and two conversions, before Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu added a penalty and two conversions.

South Africa ultimately scored 27 second-half points without reply, yet Wales will take a considerable amount of confidence with them on tour to Australia despite suffering a seventh successive defeat since beating World Cup pool opponents Georgia.

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Hendrikse missed an early penalty chance for South Africa but the Springboks went ahead after just four minutes when they shredded Wales’ defence through a sweeping attack.

Mapimpi broke clear after collecting full-back Aphelele Fassi’s pass, and supporting centre Kriel was afforded a simple finish, before Hendrikse converted for a 7-0 lead.

Costelow opened Wales’ account through a seventh-minute penalty but they were soon on the back-foot again following Springboks number eight Evan Roos’ midfield surge, with wing Rio Dyer being yellow-carded for a technical infringement.

South Africa then attacked from a close-range lineout and referee Chris Busby awarded them a penalty try after Wales forward Aaron Wainwright illegally pulled down a maul. Wainwright was sin-binned and South Africa had an 11-point advantage.

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Despite their numerical disadvantage, Wales should have scored early in the second quarter after Liam Williams intercepted Hendrikse’s pass, but scrum-half Ellis Bevan couldn’t gather the ball from centre Mason Grady and a glorious chance went astray.

Wales did not have to wait much longer, though, to cut the deficit after Fassi was yellow-carded when his boot caught flanker Taine Plumtree in the face.

South Africa could not clear danger from a lineout inside their own 22 and Lake pounced for a score that Costelow converted, making it 14-10.

It was an impressive recovery by Wales and their fightback continued six minutes before half-time when another Costelow penalty meant that South Africa led by just a point.

Wales lost prop Keiron Assiratti with an injury on the stroke of half-time – he was replaced by Harri O’Connor – yet his team had defied pre-match odds at the halfway point.

Wales South Africa
Eben Etzebeth on the charge – PA

South Africa struck within two minutes of the second-half starting and it was a simple try as they simply out-flanked Wales’ defence and Mapimpi had a straightforward run-in, with Hendrikse converting from the touchline.

Hendrikse kicked a long-range penalty to extend South Africa’s advantage, then his replacement Feinberg-Mngomezulu bisected Wales’ posts from inside his own half, and Wales trailed by 14 points.

The quality of South Africa’s replacements’ bench began to take its toll, and Wales were powerless to prevent Mbonambi crashing over from close range as the Springboks moved past 30 points, then Van der Merwe broke clear five minutes from time.

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1 Comment
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dave 26 days ago

TMO had a blinder. As in he was completely blind to SA massive forward pass and knocking it dead. Incredible. Great to see the 28 year old debutant wing scoring such an awesome try.

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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