Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
3 minute read
9 Jul 2022
7:15 pm

Wales snatch late victory to level series against Springboks

Ross Roche

Wales scored the only try of the match in the 78th minute.

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth tries to chase down the box kick off Wales scrumhalf Kieran Hardy during the second Test in Bloemfontein. Picture: Gallo Images

The fringe Springboks were their own worst enemy as they dominated the match but allowed Wales to claim a historic 13-12 win in the second Test, levelling the three-match series at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

The Boks missed a number of chances in the first half, which left the sides level pegging at the break, before moving ahead 12-3 by the 60th minute, and looked like they would comfortably see out the match.

However, Wales replacement flyhalf Gareth Anscombe kept them in the hunt with a penalty, before replacement back Josh Adams went over for a 78th minute try, with Anscombe’s superb touchline conversion enough to steal the win on the night.

ALSO READ: Four things we want to see from Boks in Bloem

The match started with the kickers taking centre stage, as Welsh captain Dan Biggar put his side ahead with an early penalty, only for Bok captain Handre Pollard to respond a few minutes later to make it 3-all after five minutes.

The kicking battle then continued with long range penalty attempts from Biggar and Pollard in the 14th and 18th minutes, but both flyhalves pushed their attempts wide.

The home side then had a couple of good chances before halftime but were unable to breakthrough an impressive Welsh defence.

First in the 24th minute the Boks had a penalty in Wales 22m, but instead of going for poles Pollard opted for the 5m lineout, only for hooker Joseph Dweba to put in a skew throw, allowing Wales an easy exit.

In the 30th minute the Boks then had an attacking scrum deep in Wales 22m, but it became messy and the visitors managed to steal the ball and clear.

It was a messy end to the half then as both teams made mistakes going into the break, with the teams locked at 3-all.

Similar start

The second half then started similar to the first with opportunities for the kickers, with Pollard slotting his shot before Biggar missed his, leaving the score 6-3 after 45 minutes.

In the 52nd minute the Boks then received another penalty in front, with Pollard extending the lead, while Biggar had to leave the field with a shoulder injury, replaced by Anscombe.

Pollard then shanked an easy penalty attempt wide three minutes later.

Wales were then dealt a blow as replacement Alun Wyn Jones was yellow carded after being harshly adjudged to have cynically slapped the ball away with the Boks on attack in their 22m in the 57th minute, but replays seemed to show he hadn’t touched the ball.  

But his 10 minutes off didn’t cost his side anything as a 59th minute penalty from Pollard was then cancelled out in the 67th minute by Anscombe with the score 12-6.

Anscombe then missed a long range chance in the 70th minute as they were unable to cut the deficit further.

Wales then scored the crucial only try of the match in the 78th minute, as they opted to kick to the corner, set up the lineout, spread the ball wide for Adams to run in and go over in the left hand corner.

Anscombe then nailed the conversion to put Wales ahead by a point, with them then desperately holding out over the final few seconds to seal a first ever win in South Africa.

Scorers

Springboks: Penalties – Handre Pollard (4)

Wales: Try – Josh Adams. Conversion – Gareth Anscombe. Penalties – Dan Biggar, Anscombe