UK scribes slam Wales-Bok Test: ‘Fans should get refund’

2018-06-04 12:52
Robert du Preez smothered by two Wales defenders... (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - UK-based rugby scribes were not impressed by the quality of rugby on display when Wales clashed with South Africa in Washington DC on Saturday.

OPINION: Just ONE ‘US Bok’ to start in Jo’burg?

Wales won 22-20 to record their third straight win over the Springboks.

Both teams, however, fielded second-string outfits and the rugby dished up at the Robert F Kennedy Stadium resembled as much.

The official attendance for the match was 21 357, less than half the stadium's 45 596 capacity.

Stephen Jones, who writes for Britain’s Sunday Times, says he doubts that the match would have appealed to American sports enthusiasts.

“Lovers of the NFL from those heady years when Washington Redskins were rolling in the RFK Memorial stadium, will not be transferring in droves to support strange old rugby,” Jones wrote.

“For rugby fans, there was yet more evidence of the rapid devaluation of Test rugby by endless, mediocre repetition and money-hunger.”

Jones added than Wales were a “little fortunate to win”.

“They were under pressure throughout the second half, their 14-3 half-time lead melted away and South Africa took the lead in the closing stages. Until Wales broke out with two tries at the end of the first half this was a live candidate for the worst Test of all time as in rain and heat, the teams blundered, the scrums were set and re-set and there was so little action that the spectators must have assumed that the local TV station had gone to a giant advertisement break.”

Nik Simon from The Mail on Sunday was equally scathing.

“The biggest insult was that the only poster advertising this game in Washington DC had billed it as the ‘Clash of the Titans’.

“For Warren Gatland and Wales, it served its purpose as a development fixture ahead of the World Cup. The paying American supporters, however, should be entitled to a refund after they were promised an ‘epic rugby battle’ on the same billboard featuring Leigh Halfpenny and Toby Faletau.”

Alex Bywater, writing on The Guardian's website,said Americans hardly took note of the match taking place.

“This was the match barely anyone in the American capital knew was happening, the Washington Post failing to carry a single word to preview Wales’s clash against South Africa.

“With both sides fielding youthful teams, critics had slammed the encounter pre-match as a money-spinning PR stunt which devalued international rugby.

“But there are always two sides to every coin and in time this game - which Wales edged thanks to Ryan Elias’s dramatic late try - will do the younger players on both sides the world of good in their career development. It was some finale.”

Read more on:    springboks  |  wales  |  rugby

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