Full back Damian Willemse kicked a pressure penalty after the hooter to secure South Africa rugby a 32-29 victory over ill-disciplined Wales rugby in a see-saw test at a raucous Loftus Versfeld.
Louis Rees-Zammit crossed twice in the first half to put Wales in control and Dewi Lake also crossed to seemingly snatch a draw late on for the tourists, who came agonizingly close to their first-ever victory on South African soil.
They ran the world champions so close but paid the price for their cynical play in their own 22 as they lost four players to yellow cards and conceded a penalty try.
The Springboks might have won by a greater margin but for their own lacklustre play as their tactical kicking was abysmal and decision-making in key phases of play unusually poor. Hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx, and wing Cheslin Kolbe, crossed for tries for the home side. The second of three tests will be played in Bloemfontein next Saturday with Wales still in search of a first win in South Africa after 11 attempts.
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South Africa take a 1-0 series lead
You do wonder, though, if that was Wales’ best shot of the series. South Africa were rusty for long periods today, and will surely settle into their work quicker next week, and it will be tough for Wayne Pivac’s side to reproduce that sort of perfomance in Bloemfontein next Saturday.
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:36
Wayne Pivac on Wales’ defeat
“It was a huge effort, but when you are down to 12 men against the world champions here it is very, very difficult. Discipline – we were on the wrong side of the referee today and we need to go away and take a look at the penalties we conceded.
“The effort was there, it was more around under pressure we did make a few mistakes. I would have even taken a draw at the end.
“It was a big step up from our last performance. I’m disappointed for the players because they worked so hard this week. It is one that got away. World champions in their back yard. We’ll roll our sleeves up tomorrow and go again next week.”
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:29
F/T: South Africa 32-29 Wales
A devastating defeat for Wales. They had done brilliantly to stay with South Africa, first stalling the Springboks’ fightback and then striking late to draw back level through Dewi Lake. But should Tomos Williams have kicked the ball back to South Africa with 30 seconds left? It offered a chance to win it, which Damian Willemse took.
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:23
F/T: South Africa 32-29 Wales
Dan Lydiate speaks to Sky Sports on Welsh heartbreak: “I’m pretty gutted to be honest. there were a lot of momentum shifts in that game, but we thought we had nicked it.
“Very disappointed after the Six Nations, we wanted to put a good performance in and restore some fight back into the jersey. But we came here to win. We’ll dust ourselves off and go again next week.
“It’s just a massive privilege to put the jersey on again, so hopefully I’ll get another chance to put it on.”
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:19
FULL TIME! SOUTH AFRICA 32-29 WALES
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:14
PENALTY! SOUTH AFRICA 32-29 Wales (Damian Willemse penalty, 83 mins)
With the final kick, Damian Willemse snatches victory for South Africa!
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:12
South Africa 29-29 Wales, 81 minutes
A deliberate knock on! Penalty to South Africa!
Makazole Mapimpi is screaming for the ball on the left wing for several phases. South Africa finally try the get the ball to him, but Wales condense the space well, and seem to have it handled…
Until Dan Biggar extends his right arm in the path of a pass and is rightly ruled to have deliberately knocked it on. Damian Willemse will have the chance to win it from 15-in on the left-hand side…
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:11
South Africa 29-29 Wales, 80 minutes
Wales would quite fancy a draw at this stage, but dare not dally in their own half, kicking the ball back to South Africa.
Who run it back with interest. Cheslin Kolbe and Lukhanyo Am make merry progress down the right as the hooter blares.
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:10
South Africa 29-29 Wales, 79 minutes
Alun Wyn Jones is back amongst things. Wales have 13 players on the field.
Surely that means space for South Africa? Possession is with the Springboks on halfway, the backs seeking those openings…ooh, is that the right choice from Damian de Allende? With time ticking by, he pokes a little grubber into touch.
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:09
TRY! South Africa 29-29 WALES (Dewi Lake try, 77 mins)
Try for Wales! The scores are level!
Remarkable fight from Wales. They maul strongly, replying in kind to the South African score with Dewi Lake sharp to spot space and ground.
Can Dan Biggar convert? No! 29-29 it remains.
Harry Latham-Coyle2 July 2022 18:07