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Ken Borland

Biggar praises a top-class Wales effort, but a lack of discipline caused them a heartbreaking loss

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Ken

PRETORIA, South Africa, 2/7/2022 – Wales captain Dan Biggar praised his team for a top-class effort but lamented a crucial lack of discipline that saw them suffer a heartbreaking 32-29 loss to South Africa at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

Wales had led 18-3 at halftime after a clinical first-half display, but the world champions mounted a stirring comeback after the break, in front of 51 762 spectators, on the first occasion the Springboks have had to play at home in front of an unrestricted crowd since winning the World Cup in 2019.

South Africa led 29-24 thanks to a penalty try in the 75th minute, but Wales levelled the scores at 29-29 with a rolling maul try despite having only 12 men on the field, due to three yellow cards, including two to forwards Alun-Wyn Jones and Rhys Carre.

Captain Dan Biggar, who was a culprit himself, being yellow-carded late in the first half, then missed the conversion, and then conceded a penalty at the other end of the field due to a deliberate knock-on. Springbok fullback Damian Willemse slotted the 83rd-minute penalty to spare the favourites’ blushes.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team, it was a huge effort from minute one. Just a couple of key moments in the second half cost us, we put ourselves under pressure,” Biggar said.

“We conceded a lot of penalties in the second half which gave territory and invited their driving maul inside the 22, which is very difficult to stop.

“I’m really proud of the effort, but obviously it was a missed opportunity, definitely. We need to look at ourselves first, we gave some easy penalties, although some we felt were a little harsh,” Biggar said.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said his team had gone into the match knowing that they were in for a long haul against a Wales team they had described as desperate during the build-up to the Test. They made life even harder for themselves after a lacklustre first half.

“It was tough in the first half because they stopped our mauls and we did not kick according to how we wanted. Wales controlled the game,” Kolisi said.

“But then the guys who came off the bench brought the energy we needed and we started going forward. I didn’t stress too much being 3-18 down because I knew we had not got our game right, and I knew that once we did, then the momentum would change.

And it did, we started playing, we had to chase the game and we took our opportunities very well. There was no panic, we never felt there was no way we were going to come back,” Kolisi said.

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