Durban - Willie le Roux has scored a fine solo try and had a hand in three others as the Springboks eased to a 38-16 victory over Wales in the opening Test match at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
As it happened: Boks v Wales
The Cheetahs fullback set up two Bryan Habana scores and also played in franchise teammate Cornal Hendricks for a try on debut.
Duane Vermeulen scored the other try in a one-sided affair, ensuring the hosts started their Test season on a high.
"I'm very proud of this team," coach Heyneke Meyer said afterwards.
"They were outstanding and played extremely well tonight."
men, dogged by off-field problems in the build-up, showed little sign
of distraction apart from the opening three minutes when Wales twice
delivered threatening runs on either wing and came away with a Dan
Biggar drop goal.
But South Africa settled in thereafter and hit
back with a wave of phases, although they were hampered metres from the
line as the visiting defence cleared.
However, there was no
stopping France-based Habana when he sharply chased down Le Roux's
kick-ahead to touch down on the left after seven minutes -- the veteran
winger showing a good burst of speed to beat Alex Cuthbert after flyhalf
Morne Steyn's initial quick ball allowed the fullback to run into
Wales then lost Jamie Roberts to a yellow card after the star centre tackled Le Roux in the air.
And the Boks took full advantage by scoring twice in that 10-minute passage.
Stormers flanker Vermeulen crashed over, collecting quick ball from
Fourie du Preez, after a drive from an attacking line-out was held up.
Le Roux's brilliant shimmy then opened up space for Habana to latch onto
his pass and skip over for his 55th Test try.
In between those scores, Bigger had popped over another drop kick when French referee Romain Poite was playing advantage.
Roux then scored an outstanding solo try, chipping ahead from inside
the 22 and regathering after the bounce fell kindly for him and not
opposite number Liam Williams, and diving over for the fourth try two
minutes from the break.
Although Biggar added a penalty before the changeover, the lead was still a substantial 19 points.
was a tough week, there were lots of disruptions, but I thought we were
superb tonight, especially in that first half," said Meyer.
lead was stretched to 22 five minutes into the second half when Steyn,
who kicked six out of six attempts on goal, slotted over a penalty.
scored a fifth try of the night when the ball was rapidly switched from
left to right, Le Roux drawing men once again, as the ball was sent
wide to the former to cross.
The Welsh, who scored a disallowed
try for a forward pass on the hour, finally managed a five-pointer with
10 minutes to play as Cuthbert ran from inside his own 22, brushed off
three tackles and ran in under the post.
It was nothing more than consolation, though, as the Boks took a 1-0 lead in the two-game series.
Springboks: 38 - Tries: Bryan Habana (2), Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Cornall Hendricks; Conversions: Morné Steyn (5); Penalty: Steyn
Wales: 16 - Try: Alex Cuthbert; Conversion: James Hook ; Penalty: Dan Biggar ; Drop Goals: Dan Biggar (2)
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Substitutes: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Paul James, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 James Hook, 23 Matthew Morgan