By
Mike Dawes

A late penalty try denied Wales an historic first victory over the Springboks in South Africa.

Liam Williams was penalised for a dangerous tackle on Cornal Hendricks as the South African wing looked set to score in the corner in the 78th minute.

And that handed Morne Steyn a straightforward conversion from in front of the posts to hand the hosts a 31-30 victory.

Wales mustered two late opportunities for Dan Biggar but the Wales fly-half fell short with both drop-goal attempts from the halfway line.

South Africa fullback Willie le Roux tried to evade a diving tackle from George North

South Africa fullback Willie le Roux tried to evade a diving tackle from George North

Bryan Habana releases the ball as the Sprinboks attack Wales

Bryan Habana releases the ball as the Sprinboks attack Wales

George North drives forward as Wales turn the screw in the first half

George North drives forward as Wales turn the screw in the first half

Jamie Roberts goes over to score one of three Welsh tries

Jamie Roberts goes over to score one of three Welsh tries

It was a bitter disappointment for Wales, who had led 17-0 in the first half and 30-17 with 10 minutes remaining.

Jamie
Roberts, Alex Cuthbert and Ken Owens all crossed for Wales in a vastly
improved display from last week’s capitulation in Durban.

However,
indiscipline again proved costly as Wales conceded two penalties tries,
either side of a score by Hendricks, and were reduced to 13 men during
the first half after two players were binned.

Having
blown away the cobwebs in Durban last week, Wales began far more
impressively at Nelspruit and stunned the Mbombela Stadium by galloping
into a shock 17-point lead.

Jannie
du Plessis was penalised from Jamie Roberts’ thrust and Biggar kicked
the opening points on 13 minutes while Du Preez missed his first effort.

Roberts was then involved again moments later for the game’s first try.

The
Welsh scrum, anchored by 21-year-old Samson Lee who started ahead of
Adam Jones, held firm to hand Biggar the perfect attacking platform.

Biggar
sent Alex Cuthbert crashing through, the wing bouncing off two tackles
before he found Roberts on his shoulder. The centre rode the challenge
of Jan Serfotnein to score under the posts.

Biggar converted for a 10-0 lead on 19 minutes.

South
Africa had been caught on the back foot and when Steyn failed to
collect a lose ball, Jonathan Davies recovered leading to Wales’ second
try.

Liam
Williams almost stepped through and Davies was strong before Cuthbert
crashed on to Biggar’s pass through Serfontein on the line. Biggar
converted for a remarkable 17-0 scoreline after 30 minutes.

Alex Cuthbert dives over the try line as Wales pile the pressure on the Sprinkboks

Alex Cuthbert dives over the try line as Wales pile the pressure on the Sprinkboks

South Africa's wing Cornal Hendricks (centre) is tackled by Wales' hooker Ken Owens (left)

South Africa’s wing Cornal Hendricks (centre) is tackled by Wales’ hooker Ken Owens (left)

However
just as in the first Test, Welsh indiscipline was to prove costly as
the Springboks capitalised on yellow cards with 14 unanswered points.

South
Africa’s driving lineout was the source of Wales’ problems and Luke
Charteris was binned for infringing as the green jerseys surged forward.

The Springboks looked to have blown the chance when Dan Lydiate stole a lineout but back they came for a fourth attempt.

With
Francois Louw carrying at the tail of a devastating drive, Biggar was
penalised and referee Steve Walsh awarded South Africa a penalty try,
converted by Steyn, and sent the Welsh fly-half to join Charteris in the
sin bin.

South
Africa immediately stepped on the gas against 13 men and from the
kick-off, spread play wide to find space. Again it was full-back Willie
le Roux who proved most effective, following JP Pieterson’s break before
sending Hendricks clear for a try.

Wales players can't believe it as the hosts plunder a last-gasp victory

Wales players can’t believe it as the hosts plunder a last-gasp victory

Wales
clung on to their 17-14 lead to half-time and, once back to full
strength, rocked South Africa again by extending their lead.

Dan
Lydiate and Alun Wyn Jones surged from a lineout and Davies went close
before hooker Owens dived between Tendai Mtawarira and Duane Vermulen,
stretching out to score. Biggar converted to hand Wales a 24-14
advantage on 46 minutes.

Wales dug in to withstand the expected response while Steyne and Biggar traded penalties to maintain the 10-point gap.

South Africa were then reduced to 14 men when lock Flip van der Merwe was binned for tackling Alun Wyn Jones in mid-air.

Wales’
pack, scrummaging against seven Springbok forwards, earned another
penalty and Biggar converted his sixth kick to put Wales 30-17 ahead and
dreaming of an historic win.

Pieterson
launched a counter-attack that was initially repelled by brave Welsh
defending but was finally undone by the footwork of Le Roux.

South
Africa mounted a final attack and worked space out wide for Hendricks,
who beat North before he was clattered by an illegal tackle from
full-back Williams on the line.

The comments below have not been moderated.

KW,

UK,

1 hour ago

Nick, Nottingham, United Kingdom, Steve Walsh was the disgraced NZ referee who scampered of to Australia in order to maintain his International referee status. He sends 2 Welsh players to the sin bin but when SA commits similar offences there is no card. His coup de grace was the tip tackle, which is deemed to be dangerous and should be rewarded with a red card. But Walsh does not produce the card. The man is a disgrace to the game or was he going to get a gold watch?

Bxttle,

Neath, United Kingdom,

1 hour ago

Shame really Wales let it slip in the dying seconds, I think the gift of a free 7 points by Walsh was pretty low though, if the tackle was deemed illegal and there by “taken out of the equation” he would have dived in the corner for the try and then would have to get the conversion.. Call it wide eyed but I think if the loss had come that way there’d be no real bitterness to speak of in that respect.

meh2013,

London, United Kingdom,

2 hours ago

Liam Wiliams is a liability at this level….

meh2013,

London, United Kingdom,

2 hours ago

Liam Wiliams is a liability at this level….

Nick,

Nottingham, United Kingdom,

3 hours ago

Didn’t see the game but……errrrmmm……was Steve Walsh anything to do with the final scoreline at all? Just enquiring out of interest you understand.

Terracao,

Durham,

4 hours ago

Gutted Wales didn’t win that. Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Small crumb of comfort that the Boks are happy/relieved to win. They know they’ve been extremely lucky today.
The winning try, can see why it was given……but…..I don’t think it was a penalty try at all. The ball was dislodged prior to the shoulder charge so in actual fact it was a knock-on which then became a penalty. That said, personally I thought the Ken Owens try was a knock-on too. So you could say it evened itself out.

The person who thought Williams should have had a red……if that was a red then the Bokke 4 should definitely had a red for what was basically a tip tackle!

loulou,

London,

4 hours ago

Wales must be devastated, I really thought you had the win, Alex Cuthbert was on fire and Dan Biggar was putting in his all. I reckon Alun Wyn Jones just got on the wrong side of Walsh, Jones just asked a few too many questions and Walsh takes everything so personally. But then again, Wales will learn just to keep the nerve in the last few minutes and will come back in the Autumn internationals hungrier.

Someone,

Nowheresville, United States,

5 hours ago

When I saw Wales were ahead by 6 with 5 minutes to go I thought they would concede a try in the last minute.

Zworm,

WashDC,

50 minutes ago

My God, a bloody prophet as well!

TomSacold,

UK,

6 hours ago

JPR did an identicle tackle on Gourdon in 1976, saved the try and the match for a Grand Slam win and was priaised to high heaven for his bravery and strength !!!

How have times changed.

buckbe,

cardiff, United Kingdom,

6 hours ago

why was williams allowed to stay on the pitch for the illegal tackle , if the offence warranted a penalty try surely williams should have been red carded

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