Sport

SOUTH AFRICA 30 (17) WALES 14 (8)

Powerful Springboks secure series win over gutsy Wales

Powerful Springboks secure series win over gutsy Wales
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 16: Handre Pollard of the Springboks scores a try during the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at DHL Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)

The Springboks deservedly wrapped up the series against Wales with a convincing 30-14 win in the decider in Cape Town on Saturday.

When it came to the crunch the Springboks, flexing their world champion muscles, had just too much power for an excellent and gallant Wales.

An emphatic third Test performance by Siya Kolisi’s men secured a 2-1 series win and ensured that the southern hemisphere regained some respect after Ireland and England had both clinched tight series wins in New Zealand and Australia respectively earlier in the day.

The winning margin of 16 points was a fair reflection of the Boks’ dominance. Only their own untidy finishing stopped the match from becoming a complete rout.

Wing Makazole Mapimpi and centre Lukhanyo Am both dotted down for tries that were chalked off because of a foot in touch and a forward pass in the respective build-ups. Centre Damian de Allende also could not grass the ball on the tryline, coming up a few centimetres short.

Despite that lack of cutting edge, which included several other gilt-edged chances that ended up being stopped by solid Wales defence and blunt finishing, the Boks were just too powerful.

Bongi Mbonambi of South Africa during the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at DHL Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Once again the forwards laid a strong foundation, the rolling maul in fine fettle as usual. Hooker Bongi Mbonambi, playing his 50th Test, scored as he broke away from a maul close to the line just before halftime.

After the break the Boks maul was the foundation of a try for captain Kolisi. After replacement hooker Malcolm Marx was stopped just short, the Boks worked the ball through several phases, before Kolisi ran on to a weak defensive shoulder to score.

Wales had their moments and showed the tenacity that saw them overturn a 12-3 deficit in the final quarter of the second Test in Bloemfontein, to win 13-12, but it wasn’t enough against the Bok ‘A’ team.

The veterans underlined that experience and composure are a huge factor in tight Tests. Lock Eben Etzebeth delivered a monumental 62 minutes on the occasion of his 100th Test while indefatigable flank Pieter-Steph du Toit was colossal.

Eben Etzebeth of the Springboks before the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at DHL Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)

Kolisi too played his best Test in some time, with some bone-crunching tackling and strong running. And behind them scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse produced quick service with clear decision-making that gave the Boks momentum from ruck ball.

No 8 Jasper Wiese, despite his willingness to run hard at the defensive wall, had little impact and he was replaced before halftime by the more mobile Kwagga Smith.

The Boks lacked mobility from their loose trio in a match that was played at a high tempo, and Smith’s introduction gave them more impact on the gain line and a better jackal to oppose Wales’ openside Tommy Reffell in particular.

Pollard had a fine match, scoring 20 points from a try, three conversions and three penalties and Damian Willemse also caught the eye.

Siya Kolisi (c) of the Springboks on his way to score his try during the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at DHL Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)

Wing Cheslin Kolbe was forced out of the match early on with a head injury and Willemse moved to inside centre, De Allende to outside centre and Lukhanyo Am out on to the wing.

It wasn’t ideal but the Boks more than made do. Wales too had disruptions with No 8 Taulupe Faletau crying off before kick-off after sustaining an injury in the warm-up.

Finishing blues

Although the Boks were never out of sight until late in the game, it always felt as if they were in control of the contest after making a strong start.

The halftime score flattered Wales, but it also underlined how poor the Boks’ finishing was. They bashed and huffed and puffed at the Wales line but struggled to break the red wall.

Liam Williams of Wales during the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at DHL Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

With the amount of quality, quick ball the Boks enjoyed inside Wales’ 22-metre area, they should have added several more tries. But poor options, loose or inaccurate passes and stubborn Welsh resistance kept the tourists in the game.

Pollard did score one try after Wales conceded two scrum penalties and the Bok forwards had run down blind alleys for more than 10 phases combined. 

Eventually, after what felt like a 17th carry into contact, Pollard ran on to a pass from a metre deeper and found enough space to stretch out an arm and score the game’s first try in the 14th minute.

Wales had not left their half for the first 15 minutes of the game, and by that stage had conceded five penalties, all in the red zone, yet somehow still had 15 men on the field. They rode their luck. 

From the restart to Pollard’s score, Wales enjoyed their best period of the half. They regained control and found space on both flanks as they stretched the Boks’ defence. 

Eventually they opened up enough room in the left where Reffell, taking a break from his scavenging duties, was on hand to take the final pass for a score. 

Pollard’s second penalty just before halftime gave the Boks a comfortable 17-8 lead at the break but that within seven minutes of the restart the gap was down to three points. 

Wales skipper Dan Biggar added two early second half penalties to narrow the deficit and raise the unthinkable prospect of a Wales comeback, but Kolisi’s try settled the matter and calmed nerves. 

Pieter-Steph du Toit of South Africa during the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at DHL Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Two late Pollard penalties added gloss to the final score and ensured the Boks go into the Rugby Championship with some momentum.

 Scorers: 

South Africa – Tries: Handre Pollard, Bongi Mbonambi, Siya Kolisi. Conversions: Pollard (3). Penalties: Pollard (3)

Wales – Try: Tommy Reffell. Penalties: Dan Biggar (3). DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Nicholas De Villiers says:

    How many warnings did Wales get that there would be a card for the next infringement? Professional fouls should get a card not repeated warnings. They kept killing our mauls near the try line and got away with it.

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