Rugby

Boks squeak past Wales

2010-06-05 16:27
Ruan Pienaar (File)
Cardiff - World champions South Africa maintained their dominance over Wales after a 34-31 victory in their one-off Test match at the Millennium Stadium.

The Springboks, shorn of several of their leading players, lifted the Prince William Cup as they recovered from a poor start to inflict more misery on Wales.

Ruan Pienaar collected 16 points while Odwa Ndungane, Dewald Potgieter and debutant Juan De Jongh crossed for tries.

But Warren Gatland's Wales side, who now head out to New Zealand in what will be an even tougher test, crossed three times themselves after staging a mini revival which saw Tom Prydie and Alun Wyn Jones touchdown as they threatened a late comeback.

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers saluted De Jongh and fellow debutants Gio Aplon and Francois Louw.

"They earned their stripes in the Super 14 and it was a just reward for them," he said.

"And it's good for us to be able to keep this team moving forward, it puts us in a good position."

Gatland added: "We are frustrated. If that was a couple of years ago we would have said what a good performance it was. But we have come on from there.

"In the opening 25 minutes we were clinical, accurate and 16-3 up, and then we caught some sort of disease, I don't know what it is. We are frustrated at a missed opportunity."

Both teams, who will go head-to-head in next year's World Cup, were missing several key players either through injury, an enforced break or in South Africa flyhalf Butch James's case, via red tape.

But Wales, with just one win over the Springboks back in 1999, were the first to settle as they came flying out of the blocks. It was no surprise to see their early pressure rewarded on the scoreboard.

Stephen Jones's penalty was followed by James Hook's dropped goal, and although Pienaar's boot reduced the deficit, it was no surprise to see Wales cross the tryline with 21 minutes on the clock.

After the latest turnover, captain John Smit's long pass out wide was flung straight into the grateful hands of Hook, with the Ospreys centre running clear underneath the posts from 30 metres.

The moment of good fortune also wasn't lost on the 60 000 crowd with Wales, so often cursed with conceding interception tries during this year's Six Nations campaign, profiting from an opposition error.

Not that Wales could rest on their laurels against a South African side bidding to continue their remarkable record in the capital.

Wales had opened up a 16-3 lead which was instantly reduced via Pienaar after the home side were penalised at the ruck by referee Alan Lewis.

And it was no surprise to see another mistake, which mirrored the opening half from both teams, lead to Ndungane's 30th minute touchdown in the corner.

Jones' wayward kick was run back by winger Aplon and the ball was finally recycled for the flying Sharks winger to crash home.

It turned out to be Ndungane's, standing in for the rested Bryan Habana, last contribution as he limped off injured after coming into collision with Prydie.

The world champions, clearly under-strength, still showed their depth with Pienaar's penalty reducing the lead before half time in a strong finish to the opening period.

Their dominance continued after the break when Potgieter burrowed over for his maiden international try, with Pienaar adding the extras as the visitors took the lead for the first time in the 43rd minute.

Jones and Francois Steyn swapped penalties as the Springboks led 24-19 heading into the final quarter.

Debutant De Jongh all but sealed the win with a jinking run saw him dart underneath the posts.

Late pressure saw wing Prydie cross for his first Wales try in the 72nd minute, before Pienaar immediately replied.

Yet Wales refused to throw in the towel and despite Alun Wyn Jones crashing over for a converted try in the dying minutes it was too little too late.

Teams:

Wales:

15. Lee Byrne, 14. Leigh Halfpenny, 13. James Hook, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. Tom Prydie, 10. Stephen Jones, 9. Mike Phillips, 8. Ryan Jones (captain), 7. Sam Warburton, 6. Jonathan Thomas, 5. Deiniol Jones, 4. Bradley Davies, 3. Adam Jones, 2. Matthew Rees, 1. Paul James

Substitutes: 16. Huw Bennett, 17. John Yapp, 18. Alun Wyn Jones, 19. Rob McCusker, 20. Richie Rees, 21. Dan Biggar, 22. Andrew Bishop

South Africa:

15. Frans Steyn, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jaque Fourie, 12. Juan de Jongh, 11. Odwa Ndungane, 10. Ruan Pienaar, 9. Ricky Januarie, 8. Joe van Niekerk, 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Victor Matfield, 4. Danie Rossouw, 3. BJ Botha, 2. John Smit (captain), 1. CJ van der Linde

Substitutes: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Alistair Hargreaves, 19. Ryan Kankowski, 20. Meyer Bosman, 21. Zane Kirchner, 22. Bjorn Basson

Read more on:    springboks
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