Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 20-11 defeat to Wales in Cardiff:
1. Wales becoming a bogey side for Springboks
Wales’ victory was the Dragons’ fourth in a row over the Springboks - a statistic that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
Overall, the Boks still lead 28-6 head-to-head, with one draw, but Wales’ recent dominance should be a concern for Bok fans.
Since beating the Springboks 12-6 in Cardiff in November 2014, the Welsh have won five of six Tests between the teams, with South Africa’s only success a 23-19 win at Twickenham in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
2. Contentious TMO call
Bok centre Jesse Kriel thought he was over for his team’s first try just before half-time.
But English referee Luke Pearce referred the decision upstairs to television match official (TMO) Simon McDowell from Ireland.
On replays, it was clear that Kriel was initially held up by the Welsh defence, but it does look like some part of the ball then touched the ground. It was not a double movement from Kriel and I felt the try could have been awarded.
However, the TMO felt there was not enough evidence for him to overturn the referee’s on-field decision which was “no try”.
Had Pearce asked “can you give me a reason not to award the try” then the Boks would have gone into half-time trailing 14-10, instead of 14-3.
3. Duane on the microphone to coaching box
Much has been said of Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen being handed the microphone by fitness guru Aled Walters midway through the second half.
It’s clear that Vermeulen was communicating with the Springbok coaching staff and it was a major talking point on social media over the weekend.
Some critics have suggested that it undermines the captaincy of Siya Kolisi, but I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t more about the injury Vermeulen was carrying.
Vermeulen had picked up a shoulder injury in the first half and probably indicated that he couldn’t carry on much longer.
It was therefore not a surprise that he was substituted two minutes later...
4. Springbok midfield conundrum
Yes, Jesse Kriel could easily have scored two tries on Saturday but I feel his centre combination with Damian de Allende remains a work in progress.
It was clear that the Boks lacked impetus on attack in Cardiff and for me the problem lies in midfield with two centres who are not good at offloading.
It was no surprise that De Allende was substituted early in the second half and the Boks played with a little more vigour when Handre Pollard moved to inside centre, with Elton Jantjies taking the No 10 jersey.
5. Late calls thwart Boks’ comeback effort
After being thoroughly outplayed in the first half, the Springboks did well to claw their way back into the contest and trailed by only three points heading into the final quarter.
But Wales regained the momentum after miscommunication between Kolisi and Jantjies, who both attempted to cover a high ball just inside South African territory.
Jantjies knocked on and was then guilty of losing possession while he waited for the referee to blow his whistle and award Wales a scrum.
The referee played advantage and Wales won a turnover, before kicking up-field where they would eventually win a breakdown penalty.
The penalty was a fair call, but the the Boks will feel they should have been awarded a penalty just before that, as it was clear that a Welsh player had dived on Aphiwe Dyantyi who scurried back to cover.
Wales took their chance and the successful penalty saw them take a 17-11 advantage in the 69th minute.
Four minutes later the hosts were again awarded a penalty which allowed them to close out the contest and I thought that call was a tad harsh.
Wales replacement scrumhalf Tomos Williams already had his hands on the ball and I felt the Boks were unlucky to be called for offside.
I’ll agree that Wales deserved to win but these two calls proved vital towards the end of the game. Had the Boks entered the final 10 minutes trailing only 14-11 they would have liked their chances of snatching a come-from-behind victory.