Springboks overcome Wales fightback at Twickenham

Sat, Jun 22, 2024, 11:24 PM
by AAP
The Springboks cruised to victory over Wales. Photo: Getty Images
The Springboks cruised to victory over Wales. Photo: Getty Images

Wales have produced a battling performance before World Cup champions South Africa turned on the power to emerge 41-13 winners at Twickenham.

Despite conceding two tries and collecting two yellow cards during the first 15 minutes on Saturday, Warren Gatland's men defied the pre-match predictions by making it a contest until two late Springboks converted tries.

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

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

The Springboks, building for a two-Test home series against Six Nations champions Ireland next month, often struggled to impose themselves in their first outing since retaining the World Cup eight months ago.

There were touchdowns for centre Jesse Kriel, wings Makazole Mapimpi and Edwill van der Merwe and hooker Bongi Mbonambi, plus a penalty try, while newcomers Jordan Hendrikse and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu landed six goalkicks.

South Africa ultimately scored 27 second-half points without reply, yet Wales will take a considerable amount of confidence on tour to Australia despite suffering a seventh consecutive defeat dating to the World Cup.

The Springboks went ahead inside four minutes when a sweeping attack was finished by Kriel, and another surge featuring No. 8 Evan Roos prompted a professional foul by Wales wing Rio Dyer, who was sin-binned.

South Africa attacked from a close-range lineout and referee Chris Busby awarded a penalty try after Wales No. 8 Aaron Wainwright illegally pulled down the maul. Wainwright was sin-binned, Wales were down to 13, and South Africa led 14-3.

Still, Wales didn't concede. 

When Boks fullback Aphelele Fassi was yellow-carded after his boot caught flanker Taine Plumtree in the face, South Africa could not clear the danger and Lake pounced for an opportunist converted try, making it 14-10.

Wales' fightback continued six minutes before halftime when a second Costelow penalty meant South Africa led by just a point.

South Africa struck two minutes into the second half after giving Mapimpi an overlap to score and Hendrikse kicked a long-range penalty.

His replacement Feinberg-Mngomezulu settled South Africa nerves by slotting another penalty from inside his own half, and Wales trailed by 14 points.

The quality of the Springboks bench began to take its toll, and Wales were powerless to prevent Mbonambi crashing over, and new wing Van der Merwe breaking clear five minutes from time.

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