Cape Town – The Boks’ November tour ended in another close defeat as Wales claimed their fourth consecutive win over the Springboks in three years with a 20-11 victory at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.
The home side lost the territory and possession battle and were under pressure in the scrum, but were more clinical in finishing the few chances they created notch up their ninth consecutive Test match win.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus inexplicably pulled scrumhalf Embrose Papier off with 30 minutes to play at a time the Boks were well on top. Replacement Ivan van Zyl battled to control the tempo of the match while also kicking a slew of possession away to give Wales the relief they craved in the closing stages.
The loss saw the Boks slump to their seventh defeat in 14 Tests this season and their second loss on their four-match tour through Britain and France over the past month.
In a game of small margins, Wales punished some basic Bok errors to score two first half tries to take a healthy lead at the break.
Bok hooker Malcolm Marx, who otherwise had a huge match with three turnovers in the first half alone, bought an elementary dummy, thrown by flank Ellis Jenkins, close to his line when the Boks were under pressure. The hole created space for Wales tighthead Tomas Francis to score his first Test try. No one looked more surprised than he.
Wales’s second try, was from a scrum 15 metres from the Boks line in centre field. Wales cleared quickly and the visitors made a pigs ear of defending the set piece. The Boks were woefully caught out down the right side from a quick Welsh heel.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard and centre Damian de Allende desperately shot up out the defensive line, which in turn forced wing Aphiwe Dyantyi to do the same. The Boks were already outnumbered four to three and with Dyantyi out of position leaving fullback Liam Williams an easy run to the line.
Despite those setbacks, at the break the Boks were unlucky not to be on level terms at least.
Pieter-Steph du Toit thought he’d scored in the opening three minutes only for the try to be ruled out with a toe on the touchline.
On the stroke of halftime Jesse Kriel looked to have forced his way over the line, but referee Luke Pearce ruled no try but did refer his decision. There was no conclusive evidence the ball was grounded and the original decision stood.
The Boks though, earned a penalty from the ensuing five-metre scrum and instead of taking a sure three points, went for a try via another scrum and botched it. Going into halftime eight points down, instead of 11 would’ve been better reward for their efforts.
After the break Kriel scored a fine try that was a result of a fine pass from Willie le Roux. It gave the Boks hope, but ultimately the tourists didn’t have enough nous to break down a rigid Welsh defence.
Wales – Tries: Tomas Francis, Liam Williams. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (2). Penalties: Dan Biggar (2).
South Africa – Try: Jesse Kriel. Penalties: Handre Pollard, Elton Jantjies.