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Wales 31-34 South Africa

Wales (16) 31
Tries: Hook, Prydie, AW Jones Cons: S Jones (2) Pens: Jones (3) Drop-goals: Hook
South Africa (14) 34
Tries: Ndungane, Potgieter, de Jongh Cons: Pienaar (2) Pens: Pienaar (4), Steyn

South Africa winger Odwa Ndungane
South Africa's Odwa Ndungane scores despite pressure from Prydie

By Bruce Pope
BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

A streetwise South Africa powered to a ruthless victory as Wales failed to claim only a second win in 104 years against an under-strength Springboks.

Two Stephen Jones penalties and a James Hook drop-goal put Wales ahead before centre Hook intercepted a loose John Smit pass for Wales to lead 16-3.

Odwa Ndungane's try dragged the world champions back into it before Dewald Potgieter and Juan de Jongh went over.

Tom Prydie and Alun Wyn Jones scored but Wales' dramatic rally was in vain.

The Springboks were without star wing Bryan Habana and back-row Schalk Burger as coach Peter de Villiers fielded what amounted to an experimental side.

Jamie Roberts and Ryan Jones
Lions duo Jamie Roberts and Ryan Jones are dejected after Wales' loss

Wing Prydie was Wales' only rookie - winning his second cap in place of the injured Shane Williams - so expectations were high that Warren Gatland's settled team, boasting nine British and Irish Lions squad members, would add a second Springboks scalp to that precious win from 1999.

Bradley Davies was involved as Wales rumbled forward early on to draw a penalty, South Africa going over the top at a ruck to allow fly-half Jones to kick three points.

South Africa responded with a dangerous foray down the right, bypassing Prydie with a two-man overlap.

But a fine, brave tackle by Mike Phillips on recalled Springbok number eight Joe van Niekerk knocked the ball loose for Hook to launch a swift counter-attack.

The Ospreys centre brilliantly scooped up the loose ball one-handed and stabbed a kick downfield to chase.

Hook made ground on Francois Steyn but the South Africa full-back had just enough time to hack the ball clear.

Centre Hook had delayed shoulder surgery to play in this match and Wales were grateful he had, as he slotted over a drop-goal following surging runs from Jamie Roberts and Jones.

South Africa soon replied when Wales infringed at the breakdown in their eagerness to snuff out a Ruan Pienaar half-break, the fly-half kicking the resulting penalty himself.

But almost immediately from the restart Jones restored the home side's six-point lead as South Africa prop BJ Botha obstructed the chasing Wales players.

Fly-half Jones bemoans inefficiency

Hook continued to excel and on 21 minutes spotted John Smit shaping a pass in midfield, picking off the Springbok captain's effort to race under the posts for his 10th Wales try.

Jones' conversion made it 16-3 as Wales seemed in control, but they committed the cardinal sin of losing possession in their own 22 and were duly punished.

After a poor clearance kick from Stephen Jones, Boks scrum-half Ricky Januarie spotted space on the left and Sharks wing Ndungane slid in at the corner as he was clattered by Prydie.

An injury suffered in that collision ended Ndungane's afternoon, Meyer Bosman replacing him, but the unconverted try brought South Africa back to within five points.

South Africa had struggled with referee Alan Lewis' ruling at scrums in the first quarter, shipping penalties and free-kicks, but gradually began to exert themselves at the set piece.

That included a disruption of the hitherto comfortable Welsh lineout, and more and more hooker Matthew Rees was failing to connect with his jumpers.

A third Pienaar penalty, after Lee Byrne had spilled a steepling kick, reduced the deficit further and Wales held a slim 16-14 half-time lead.

South Africa started to show their world champion credentials as they stepped up the tempo after the break, taking the lead for the first time as Potgieter crashed over.

The Bulls open-side had almost got away just before half-time only for a Hook tap-tackle to fell him in full stride.

But this time a fine pass out of the back of the hand from lock Danie Rossouw, the man of the match breaking from a ruck, sent Potgieter in almost under the posts for a converted try.

606: DEBATE
Ospreydragon

Wales should have replied with a try of their own after Rees hacked through, but they dawdled at the breakdown when there was space out wide and had to settle for a Jones penalty.

Pienaar just missed with a drop-goal as South Africa sought some breathing space, but they moved five points clear when Steyn scored a long-range penalty.

With 20 minutes remaining the Springboks again punished Wales for sloppiness at the breakdown, as the support was a fraction too slow getting to Roberts at a ruck.

The ball popped out on the South African side and Januarie released De Jongh to step inside the frantically reorganising Welsh defence for a debut try, with Piennar converting once more.

Wales laid siege to the Springboks and Davies was adjudged to have been held up over the line by referee Lewis, denying the Blues lock a deserved try.

But the home side kept their cool to set up a frantic last eight minutes as teenager Prydie squeezed in at the left flag for his first Test try - becoming Wales' youngest try-scorer in the process.

Gatland wants more 'risk taking'

Roberts charged in to suck in the Boks midfield, Phillips spread the ball but it needed a fine bit of handling by Hook to swat the ball on and give Ospreys team-mate Prydie space to score.

But Jones missed the difficult conversion and Wales again infringed at the restart to gift South Africa another penalty, which Piennar accepted.

With 10 points to make up in five minutes the game seemed over for Wales, only for Leigh Halfpenny to inspire a late rally as he dashed through a gap.

Open-side Sam Warburton was on the wing's shoulder to provide the link to send replacement lock Wyn Jones over.

Stephen Jones added the conversion to set up a grandstand finish but South Africa kept calm and refused to wobble as they claimed the Prince William Cup.


Wales: Byrne; Halfpenny, Hook, Roberts, Prydie; S. Jones, Phillips; James, M. Rees, A. Jones, B. Davies, D. Jones, Thomas, Warburton, R. Jones.
Replacements: A. Jones for A. Jones (57), Yapp for D. Jones (57), McCusker for Warburton (77).Not Used: Bennett, R. Rees, Biggar, Bishop.

South Africa: Steyn; Aplon, Fourie, De Jongh, Ndungane; Pienaar, Januarie; Van der Linde, Smit, Botha, Rossouw, Matfield, Louw, Potgieter, Van Niekerk.
Replacements: Kirchner for Steyn (75), Basson for Ndungane (33), Ralepelle for van der Linde (74), du Plessis for Botha (57), Hargreaves for Rossouw (76), Kankowski for Potgieter (55).Not Used: Bosman.

Att: 60,527.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland).



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see also
Wales fail to buck Boks trend
05 Jun 10 |  Welsh
'Diseased' Wales annoys Gatland
05 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Rossouw pleased with Springboks' character
05 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
James withdrawn from Wales Test
02 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Wales suffer Powell injury blow
03 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales v South Africa: Full record
28 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Irish Independent Boks make Welsh pay for mistakes - 9 hrs ago
The Scotsman Wales 31 - 34 South Africa: Boks show their ruthless streak to prevail - 13 hrs ago
The Independent Close but no celebration as Wales come up short again - 14 hrs ago
Times Online Wales turned over by Boks - 14 hrs ago
Observer South Africa skill prevails despite James Hook's class performance - 15 hrs ago


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