Springboks earn nail-biting victory

July 3, 2022 8:18 am

South Africa’s Damian Willemse broke Wales hearts with a match-winning late penalty in a pulsating first Test earlier this morning.

Captain Dan Biggar missed a kick to put Wales ahead before giving away the penalty that gave South Africa the 32-29 win.

Wales led 18-3 at half-time thanks to two Louis Rees-Zammit tries but received four yellow cards.

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South Africa bounced back with tries from Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx and Cheslin Kolbe and a penalty try.

It was a remarkable second half, in which Wales lost their discipline, with Biggar, Rees-Zammit, Alun Wyn Jones and Rhys Carre shown yellow cards by Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli, leaving Wayne Pivac’s side down to 12 men at one point.

Even so, they had a chance of victory when late on, with Wales still two men short, replacement hooker Dewi Lake dived over to level the scores, but Biggar missed the conversion.

It was left to makeshift kicker Willemse to pile on the misery for Wales – and Biggar especially – as his successful penalty settled a memorable contest.

It was an agonising finish for Wales, who were unrecognizable from the side that had won only one game in the Six Nations and suffered a humbling home defeat by Italy in their last outing in March.

This was also the same ground where 24 years earlier Wales had suffered their darkest day with a 96-13 hammering by the Springboks.

But for all the character and endeavor in a match played at altitude against the world champions, Wales squandered this chance of victory and will need to be far more disciplined in the next two matches in this series.

It was an 11th successive defeat for Wales against the Springboks in South Africa, leaving Pivac’s side to target victories in the next two Tests, in Bloemfontein and then Cape Town.