Cape Town – Call it an April Fools’ Day joke in November,
but a Welsh scribe believes he has found the way to beat the Springboks at the
Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
Cut the duration of the game to 68 minutes: that is the
ticket to a rare Welsh victory over Jean de Villiers’s team, suggests rugby
correspondent Simon Thomas of WalesOnline.
Writing on the website on Monday (www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/wales-16-34-new-zealand-warren-8160773)
he ruefully points out: “If rugby internationals lasted 68 minutes, then Wales
would have beaten all three southern hemisphere heavyweights this year.
“They were 30-17 up at that point against the Springboks in
Nelspruit in June and leading the Wallabies 28-27 two weeks ago, while it was
16-15 in their favour versus New Zealand on Saturday.”
On each occasion, the Welsh ended up on the losing side as
the closing minutes proved their nemesis – last weekend proving a prime example
as the All Blacks delivered a three-try spree to blow out the final score to
34-16 in their favour.
“So the solution is simple: change the laws of the game.
Play all Test matches over 68 minutes and Wales (currently ranked seventh on
the IRB list – Sport24) would be top of the world rankings.”
Slightly dislodging his tongue from his cheek, Thomas
concedes: “The truth is, if we did do that, the opposition would probably just
start playing sooner and anyway it’s not going to happen.
“As that great rugby philosopher Basil Fawlty (of Fawlty Towers comedy fame) once put it,
it’s not the despair that kills you, it’s the hope. Admittedly he was talking
about life with Sybil, but it’s a pretty perfect summation of what it’s like watching
Warren Gatland’s Wales take on one of the southern giants.”
The writer clearly feels the Welsh will be similarly cursed
in the dying stages on Saturday: “Lord knows how the knife will be twisted next
weekend when herds of Springboks sweep majestically across the Millennium
As if to warm up for a possible late show against Wales,
South Africa saved their best rugby for the closing stages of their otherwise
innocuous 22-6 victory over Italy on Saturday, including a last-minute try by
The Boks have won 27 of 29 Tests against Wales, with one
Welsh victory in 1999 and a draw in 1970.
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