27 13 Wales keeps Boks’ los­ing streak go­ing

CityPress - - Sport - SIMNIKIWE XABANISA sports@city­press.co.za

Spring­boks coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee will have a tough job hold­ing on to his job af­ter his team again lost on their dis­as­trous tour of Europe, mean­ing they have failed to win a sin­gle game on the north­ern hemi­sphere trip.

The Boks’ third de­feat to Wales in his­tory – and an un­prece­dented eighth in 12 games for the Boks in a sea­son – means they will for­ever be spo­ken of in the same snig­ger­ing tones as Ru­dolf Straeuli’s 2002 tourists, who lost all four of their matches that year.

Nei­ther the fact that it was cap­tain Adri­aan Strauss’ fi­nal game for the Boks, nor that is was the in­tro­duc­tion of debu­tants Uzair Cassiem, Ro­han Janse van Rens­burg and Jamba Ulengo could help the Boks gain a sem­blance of a team with am­bi­tion and a co­her­ent game plan.

If there was a pos­i­tive, it was that Cassiem scored from a rolling maul in an in­dus­tri­ous in­tro­duc­tion to test rugby.

Be­sides that and the substitutes breath­ing life into pro­ceed­ings, there was pre­cious lit­tle to write home about in an­other con­fused per­for­mance.

In the end, ill-dis­ci­pline and ba­sic er­rors proved South Africa’s un­do­ing. When­ever they didn’t have the ball, they con­ceded a steady stream of penal­ties in their own ter­ri­tory. With the deadly Welsh full­back Leigh Half­penny around, it was not smart play by the Boks – as his four first-half penal­ties showed.

Three of those were from brain­dead mo­ments like de­lib­er­ate knock­ons (two), tak­ing the man out in the air in the line-out, and pick­ing up the ball in front of a team-mate af­ter he had dropped it. Lock Lood de Jager was a par­tic­u­lar cul­prit, con­ced­ing three penal­ties on his own, two of which led to six points.

The habit of de­lib­er­ately knock­ing on also got scrum half Faf de Klerk in the sin-bin, an in­fringe­ment that cost the Boks eight early sec­ond-half points while he was off the field.

And when they weren’t con­ced­ing penal­ties, the Boks were clumsy in their at­tempts to at­tack, barely able to string to­gether two phases with­out al­most wil­fully spilling the ball.

The of­ten ma­ligned de­fence stood firm in the first half owing to a com­bi­na­tion of things. The Welsh, whose at­tack also leaves a lot to be de­sired, played as if they’d heard the Boks didn’t have the stom­ach for it in de­fence.

The sys­tem had its chinks, but the de­sire to put bod­ies on the line was there. For all that, when it came to it in the sec­ond half, the Boks again dis­mally failed to de­fend a rolling maul, which ended up with Welsh hooker Ken Owens scor­ing to take Wales’ lead to 20-6.

The Boks were much bet­ter at the break­down, where they man­aged their own ruck ball bet­ter by be­ing more efficient at clean­ing out, with Beast Mtawarira lead­ing the charge there. On the Welsh ball, Strauss, Cassiem and Nizaam Carr were at the fore­front of slow­ing things down.

That said, it wasn’t at the break­down that the Boks were be­ing killed with ball in hand. Rather, their ball-car­ri­ers were get­ting stripped of it when go­ing into con­tact with alarm­ing reg­u­lar­ity. In a strange way, that’s what the game felt like – bul­lies tak­ing lunch from the class weak­lings. Scor­ers:

Wales – Tries: Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric. Con­ver­sion: Leigh Half­penny. Penal­ties: Half­penny (5)

SA – Try: Uzair Cassiem. Con­ver­sion: Pat Lam­bie. Penal­ties: El­ton Jan­tjies (2)

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