A late Justin Tipuric try sealed a comfortable 27-13 victory for Wales over South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday.
For Wales this will go down as a satisfactory win and their third victory of the November Test window. It was only their third ever victory over South Africa and their second successive win over the Boks in Cardiff.
For South Africa, things can’t get worse. Allister Coetzee should do the honourable thing and resign. It’s difficult to be positive after their eighth defeat of the season and third on the bounce.
Coetzee gambled and rolled the dice by picking a young, inexperienced team for this game, but you can only play what’s in front of you and Wales played well in patches to finish off the year with plenty of momentum going into next year’s Six Nations.
Elton Jantjies got the Boks on the board with a penalty after an encouraging start, but Wales had the upper hand at the breakdown where they forced plenty of turnovers. Leigh Halfpenny was spot on with his goal kicking and kicked three penalties in a row to give Wales a 9-3 lead.
Jantjies pulled one back, but Wales continued to find holes in the Bok defence, especially out wide. Interestingly, both teams defended very well in the first half in terms of missed tackles – Wales missed only two and South Africa three.
Wales pounced on silly mistakes by the Boks. Faf de Klerk, who’s service and work rate was good in the first 40, three a wild pass from a scrum which found Ruan Combrinck, who didn’t expect the ball but was standing in an offside position. Halfpenny nailed the resulting penalty to further extend his side’s lead.
The hosts were smart in contact, twice taking the ball off the opposition in the tackle while captain Gethin Jenkins was also responsible for two superb turnovers.
In the first instance Tipuric took the ball off Johan Goosen who was on the counter attack, while Dan Biggar did the same to debutant Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
The start of the second half was a nightmare for the Boks and probably where they ultimately lost the game. De Klerk was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock down in the 42nd minute before Halfpenny slotted the penalty to extend the lead to 15-6.
South Africa’s heads dropped and from there on in their performance got progressively worse.
Wales took full advantage when they were awarded yet another penalty and opted for touch. From the ensuing lineout Ken Owens went over from a driving maul, but Halfpenny missed the conversion.
Debutant Uzair Cassiem scored South Africa’s only try with 10 minutes left and Pat Lambies conversion meant the deficit was now only seven points.
However, Tipuric, who was outstanding all night, sealed the result when he ran a brilliant line from second phase to cut through the Bok defence, sidestep and beat the last defender for a deserved score.
Tries: Owens, Tipuric
Pens: Halfpenny 5
For South Africa:
Pens: Jantjies 2
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jamie Roberts
South Africa: 15 Johan Goosen‚ 14 Ruan Combrinck‚ 13 Francois Venter‚ 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg‚ 11 Jamba Ulengo‚ 10 Elton Jantjies‚ 9 Faf de Klerk‚ 8 Warren Whiteley‚ 7 Uzair Cassiem‚ 6 Nizaam Carr‚ 5 Lood de Jager‚ 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ 3 Lourens Adriaanse‚ 2 Adriaan Strauss (c)‚ 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx‚ 17 Steven Kitshoff‚ 18 Trevor Nyakane‚ 19 Franco Mostert‚ 20 Jean-Luc du Preez‚ 21 Piet van Zyl‚ 22 Pat Lambie‚ 23 Lionel Mapoe
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner (England), Tom Foley (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)