Springboks Clobber Wales

Victor Matfield Matthew Morgan Wales South Africa Springboks RugbyThe Springboks put to death any notion of a Welsh upset very quickly, overpowering the men in red in every exchange en route to a comprehensive victory. With four tries already on the board the match was over at the break, and on the hour it was a rout before the Boks coasted over the finish line. The Welsh forwards were never going to be able to compete head on, but there was far too little opposition to the rampaging South African pack, taking yards through the tackle by the bushel.

It was an impressive performance from the home side, who mixed brute strength with expansive play nicely and look to be enjoying their game immensely with the return of their old warriors. As Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield set the platform, Fourie du Preez controlled the game brilliantly, bringing the likes of Duane Vermeulen and Willem Alberts on to the ball before releasing it wide, where Willie le Roux and Bryan Habana put on a masterclass on attacking the outside. Even Morné Steyn looked comfortable moving the ball though the hands, kicking for territory only when it was demanded.

Of course it has to be recognized that Wales were poor. When Adam Jones was pulled only a half-hour in, during his 100th test match no less, it was clear they were defeated. Whether this signals the end of his storied international career is yet to be seen, but it’s clear that the scrum changes have not been kind, and his impact around the park lessens by the hour.

Toby Faletau struggled with the physicality, which is a recurring problem for him, and Aaron Shingler was totally overwhelmed. Francois Louw, as expected, had a field day at the breakdown, but Shingler’s lithe physique was wholly inappropriate for any of the contact situations, and the wide support play that he favours never emerged.

George North had a shocker, clearly still feeling the effects of illness suffered earlier in the week, while on the other wing Alex Cuthbert’s defensive limitations were exposed once again. Liam Williams contributed few positives, and Mike Phillips was agonizingly slow moving the ball. The impacts that both Matthew Morgan and particularly Gareth Davies had when they replaced them were noticeable.

Warren Gatland will have some tough decisions to make heading into the second match. Samson Lee is almost certain to start at tighthead, and there will be immense pressure to drop the out-of-form Phillips for the in-form Davies at scrumhalf. The Springboks will return will largely the status quo, with an emphatic exclamation mark on their minds heading towards the lowly Scots and the big prize, the Rugby Championship.

Saturday, June 14, 15:00 GMT, Durban

03 mins – D. Biggar drop 0-3
07 mins – B. Habana try 5-3
08 mins – M. Steyn con 7-3
16 mins – D. Vermeulen try 12-3
17 mins – M. Steyn con 14-3
19 mins – D. Biggar drop 14-6
20 mins – B. Habana try 19-6
22 mins – M. Steyn con 21-6
38 mins – W. le Roux try 26-6
39 mins – M. Steyn con 28-6
40 mins – D. Biggar pen 28-9
44 mins – M. Steyn pen 31-9
51 mins – C. Hendricks try 36-9
53 mins – M. Steyn con 38-9
69 mins – A. Cuthbert try 38-14
70 mins – J. Hook con 38-16

13 mins – J. Roberts yellow (foul play)

W. le Roux (L. Mvovo 70); C. Hendricks, J.P. Pietersen, J. Serfontein, B. Habana; M. Steyn (J. Goosen 70 {R. Pienaar 74}), F. du Preez; G. Steenkamp (T. Mtawarira 45), B. du Plessis (S. Brits 70), J. du Plessis (C. Oosthuizen 59); B. Botha (L. de Jager HT), V. Matfield; F. Louw, W. Alberts (S. Burger 59), D. Vermeulen.

L. Williams (M. Morgan 55); A. Cuthbert, J. Davies, J. Roberts, G. North; D. Biggar (J. Hook 64), M. Phillips (G. Davies 55); G. Jenkins (P. James 59), K. Owens (M. Rees 59), A. Jones (S. Lee 32); A.W. Jones (capt.), L. Charteris (I. Evans 55); D. Lydiate, A. Shingler (J. Turnbull 55), T. Faletau.

Referee: R. Poite (FFR)
Assistants: S. Walsh (ARU) & F. Pastrana (UAR)
TMO: G. Hughes (RFU)

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