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Ken Borland

Bok team might not have been prim & proper, but Wales could only snatch victory at the death 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

The Welsh may not have felt the Springboks’ selection for the second Test in Bloemfontein was prim and proper for the occasion, but in the end they needed a 78th-minute try and a brilliant touchline conversion by Gareth Anscombe to win 13-12 and celebrate their first victory in South Africa.

Here are four Talking Points from the game:

Did Jacques Nienaber’s selection gamble pay off?

No. And it’s not as if several players took the chance to make a big statement either. Of the 19 new players chosen, eighthman Evan Roos was probably the standout with a busy first half featuring several strong carries, while wing Kurt-Lee Arendse looked threatening on attack.

Nienaber will at least have more clarity in terms of selection now, and will know that the vast majority of the team that played in the first Test in Pretoria will be his first-choice players going forward.

The decider in Cape Town next weekend will surely see the Springboks field their proper team.

Many a slip between the cup and the lip

There were periods when the Springboks cooked up all the ingredients to turn their territorial dominance into points, but several times it was like the fork nearing the mouth but the food falling off.

South Africa just could not convert some bright attacking moments into a single try, all 12 of their points coming from four Handre Pollard penalties, but the captain also missed two penalties which proved crucial in the long run.

Credit must be given to the steely Welsh defence, but the Springboks need to polish up those finishing touches.

Mixed fortunes for new caps

While starting debutants Roos and Arendse did well, the four new caps coming off the bench did not have much impact. Loosehead prop Ntuthuko Mchunu earned a penalty from his first scrum with a mighty shove, but then conceded a penalty for scrumming in that gave Wales the territory to launch their matchwinning try.

Ruan Nortje and Deon Fourie could not turn the shifting momentum in the final quarter and reserve scrumhalf Grant Williams came on when Pollard left the field with a leg injury. The Springboks will be hoping it was just cramp, otherwise there will be fresh problems at flyhalf after Elton Jantjies’ off-colour display in the first Test.

Credit to Wales

The tourists defended with tremendous zeal and dominated the aerial battle, which was enough for them to win a tightly-contested battle. Initially it seemed like Wales were going to struggle in the scrums and lineouts, but Wayne Pivac’s side fought back to level the playing field in those crucial set-pieces. They were also tenacious at the breakdown and flank Tommy Reffell was named man of the match in his second Test.

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