For its first test match, South Africa won in pain, against Wales (32-29), in Pretoria, this Saturday. Tops and flops.
The Welsh have found their first answers
After finishing 5th in the Six Nations tournament and losing to Italy recently, Wales are struggling to rebuild and find a competitive team. Against the World Champions in Pretoria, the note could have been much higher. Admittedly, the yellow cards (four in total) coupled with some waste, cost the Welsh people dearly, but the general performance carries a real dose of hope for the future thanks in particular to the wings worn by Louis Rees-Zammit, an effective news in his role. To lead for more than an hour against the Springboks and to pass close to the feat, represents a good basis for work for Wayne Pivac.
Repositioning of Damian Willemse
At the start of the second period, Jacques Nienaber repositioned Damian Willemse (by leaving the opening half Elton Jantjies, see elsewhere). What followed was only more beautiful for the South Africans, who found a little more consistency. He scored two important transformations (47th, 67th) and especially the decisive penalty which gave victory to the Springboks (82nd).
If the Springboks finally won this meeting, thanks to the penalty from Damian Willemse (82nd), the performance is far from encouraging. The South Africans kept arguing and lacked confidence and cohesion with an inefficient hinge. Deprived of Pieter-Steph du Toit, best player in the world in 2019, still injured, South Africa had a status of world champion to assume against a Welsh nation in reconstruction. The overall performance of the Springboks was disappointing, with many mistakes made in the first half, including Eben Etzebeth losing the ball which led to the first Welsh try. In numerical superiority, at 15 against 13, they conceded a decisive try which allowed the Welsh to come back to 29-29, two minutes from the end.
Welsh yellow cards
While playing a very good match with a try, a drop, three penalties and a transformation, Dan Biggar received a yellow card which completely revived South Africa (38th) and committed a forward volunteer who sealed the South African victory. Warnings were generally the main concern for the Welsh: Alun-Wyn Jones (65th), Louis Rees-Zammit (74th) and Rhys Carre (75th) were also forced to sit out 10 minutes. To the point where the Red Devils had to finish the game outnumbered, 13 against 15.
Elton Jantjies disappoints
The face of this almost South African setback is called Elton Jantjies who, apart from a successful penalty (17th), missed many opportunities. The South African opening half missed a first penalty at 40 meters (14th), then another at 25 meters (22nd) and offered a Welsh scrum after taking too long to clear (24th). He was responsible for the loss of the South African ball which led to the second Welsh try, when he received the ball badly. An evening to quickly forget for the 32-year-old player.