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Wales player ratings vs South Africa | 1st Test July 2022

By Will Owen
Wales' wing Louis Rees-Zammit (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first try during an international rugby union match between South Africa and Wales at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on July 2, 2022. (Photo by Christiaan KOTZE / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)

Wales player ratings: After a mixed bag of a Six Nations, Wayne Pivac confessed to having had many sleepless nights following Wales’ loss to Italy. A three-test tour of South Africa was never going to be easy for Wales, but a good opportunity for Pivac’s men to play against the best.

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Wales started the game brilliantly, but in typical Welsh fashion, it ended with a last-gasp winning kick for Damian Willemse. A confusing one to reflect on for any Welsh fan.

15. Liam Williams – 5
The bomb defuser caught a few testing kicks and didn’t really make many errors. Didn’t get many chances in attack.

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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell after defeat to the All Blacks in the first test | Ireland post-match press conference
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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell after defeat to the All Blacks in the first test | Ireland post-match press conference

14. Louis Rees-Zammit – 8
The Gloucester flier started the game with a world-class finish and a few great takes in the air. Followed up with an unorthodox finish towards the end of the first half. Ended the game with a yellow card, puzzled though he may look.

13. George North – 7
North has had a difficult year with injury, so it was great to see him back in a Wales jersey. Defended well and looked composed passing for Rees-Zammit’s first try.

12. Nick Tompkins – 5
Tompkins had a quiet game, but tackled well.

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11. Josh Adams – 5.5
Adams showed his quality on the kick-chase but didn’t get many opportunities ball-in-hand. Decent performance from the winger.

10. Dan Biggar – 7
Wales’ skipper kicked brilliantly, including a speculative drop-goal to send Wales 8-0 up. Copped a yellow card to stop his team from conceding on half-time. Unfortunately this was costly as Wales missed him during the sin-bin period.

9. Kieran Hardy – 7.5
Kicked brilliantly in the first half and ran his weight against the gargantuan Springbok pack. Was substituted at the right time.

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1. Gareth Thomas – 7.5
Thomas really punched above his weight. To go toe-to-toe with Frans Malherbe and have parity is no mean feat.

2. Ryan Elias – 7
Another strong showing from Elias. A strong tackler and solid set-piece operator, the Scarlet was unflashy but very good.

3. Dillon Lewis – 8
Lewis’ selection raised a few eyebrows, but much like Gareth Thomas, he resisted the force of Ox Nche. Had to play virtually 80 minutes, which no tighthead wants. To come up against the two best packs in the world unscathed is admirable.

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4. Will Rowlands – 7
Rowlands hasn’t had many opportunities in open space for Wales, until today. A rangy lock and strong line-out forward, Rowlands had another strong outing today.

5. Adam Beard – 7.5
There is nothing more powerful than a Springbok maul, but Adam Beard fears them not. With his telescopic limbs, he did a stellar job of halting the Boks from getting going. Unfortunately came off earlier than he would have liked.

6. Dan Lydiate – 6.5
Another player welcomed back to the Wales setup with open arms. A warrior in the tackle and solid at the breakdown.

7. Tommy Reffell – 8.5
“Tommy Turnover” had an excellent start in a red shirt. With a handful of dominant tackles, some hefty carries and a textbook jackal, Reffell looks like he is here to stay.

8. Taulupe Faletau – 6
Faletau is rarely showy, but always strong. Always replied to South Africa’s kick-offs with interest.

REPLACEMENTS

16. Dewi Lake – 7
Lake has really grown into his impact role in recent matches. Showed once again that he is an underrated finisher.

17. Rhys Carre – 3.5
Unfortunately for Carre, his only real impact on the game ended with a trip to the bin.

18. Tom Francis – N/A
Went off immediately after coming on.

19. Alun-Wyn Jones – 7
The Welsh talisman’s presence was just as important as his performance. This is a role the former skipper could get used to.

20. Josh Navidi – 5.5
Made a couple of good carries but didn’t get many opportunities to make a significant impact.

21. Tomos Williams – 6.5
Had a strong game off the bench but was responsible for a tactical team error, kicking the ball to the Springboks (and Cheslin Kolbe) while down to 13 men. Otherwise good performance.

22. Gareth Anscombe – N/A
Unused sub.

23. Owen Watkin – 5
Made a few good tackles, but might need some practice before he starts a test on the flank!

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