Vintage Boks click into high gear

Lucky Maree

As the Cape Town stadium was filling up in the background, Nick Mallet stated the obvious: “Wales performed better under the high ball.”

In the last two matches Wales managed to get the ball to Welsh wings Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams, while the Springboks struggled to even get the ball effectively to the centres. Can halfbacks Pollard and Hendrikse make that happen tonight? 

First half:

It takes a mere two minutes before the Boks get a lineout win in a very favourable position and Makazole Mapimpi scores – but the replay shows that he stepped over the touchline. Try disallowed.

The crucial first ten minutes go by with the Springboks winning all the contests and leading by one penalty.

Damian De Allende misses a try by inches but the Boks are knocking at the door. Both teams accept the battle of the trenches as the Bok forwards attack the Welsh line. It’s a fierce battle of domination and the entire match could depend on the outcome.

Thankfully, after 15 minutes, Pollard crosses the line to score that decisive try. The conversion is good. With a ten point lead, it’s definitely advantage for the Springboks. 

But Wales, as we’ve come to expect, respond by going to their strength – attacking wide on both sides until flanker Tommy Reffell scores a try that belongs to the entire backline.

Cheslin Kolbe comes off with a suspected fractured jaw and now the gamble of the six/two forwards/backs split gets tested. Willie le Roux comes on, going to fullback. Damian Willemse moves to centre and Lukhanyo Am goes to right wing, changes that prove to be successful.

Pieter-Steph du Toit concedes a penalty in front of the poles leaving the Boks with only a two point lead.

Right on halftime the Boks score an unstoppable forward try through Bongi Nbonambi. Replacing Jasper Wiese at eighth man with fetcher Kwagga Smith pays immediate dividends as Smith brings variety that Wiese didn’t have.

Second half:

Three minutes in, Lukhanyo Am, who has had a brilliant match, crosses the line, but the pass is clearly forward.

Biggar converts a penalty that brings Wales to within three but the Boks score through Siya Kolisi and South Africa lead by ten. 

South Africa enters the twilight zone of the last 20 minutes. Hopefully the nightmare of last week will remind them to keep attacking.

With ten minutes to go, the Boks still have their ten point lead, but they have not looked like scoring. Josh Adams  is given too much space and only a brilliant steal at a loose scrum by Kwagga Smith prevents a potential Welsh try.

But then South Africa come alive and Wales seem to surrender, handing the Springboks a well-deserved 16 point win. 

South Africa 30-14 Wales

South Africa: Tries: Handré Pollard, Bongi Nbonambi, Siya Kolisi.  

Penalties: Three

Conversions: Three 

Wales: Tries: Tommy Reffell 

Conversions: None

Penalties: Three

Image source: @itsTyronePrins


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