Wales stunned the Springboks with a converted try at the death to clinch their first win in South Africa, beating the world champions at Free State Stadium on Saturday evening.
Replacement flyhalf Gareth Anscombe nailed a touchline conversion of a Josh Adams try as the visitors overturned a six-point deficit to claim a 13-12 victory over the Boks in Bloemfontein before the final hooter, and set up a series showdown between the two teams in Cape Town next week.
Skipper Handre Pollard scored all the points for the hosts, who dominated the early exchanges but failed to convert their opportunities as the Bok coaches emptied the bench throughout the second 40 minutes.
Plenty was said in the buildup about a Bok lineup that featured 14 changes from the first Test, but the home side looked comfortable defensively in the first quarter of the opening half, and were camped inside the Wales half for most of the second. However, the hosts couldn’t convert their territorial and possession advantage into points.
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Unforced errors from the Welsh set them back from creating any real attacking momentum, and the tourists suffered an early injury blow with veteran Alex Cuthbert replaced by Adams on the left wing before the close of the first 20 minutes.
The Boks gave away a penalty from the kick-off right in front of the uprights, and Wales skipper Dan Biggar made no mistake, but Pollard replied soon after with one of his own to restore parity on the back of some good pressure in the Welsh 22.
A mistake by the Boks led to a second shot at goal for Biggar, but he pushed it to the right, and Pollard then pushed his second shot wide and it remained 3-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Bok hooker Joseph Dweba had the crowd on their feet with a thundering break down the right tramlines, but Biggar did just enough to stop him, and it was all square at the break after a proper arm-wrestle in Bloem.
The second half got under way with Malcolm Marx and Vincent Koch coming on in the Bok front row for Dweba and tighthead prop Nyakane, and the deadlock was broken soon after as Pollard slotted a second penalty goal to take SA into the lead in the 44th minute.
The hosts gave Wales a soft penalty but Biggar missed another opportunity in front of the uprights, as Bok debutants Deon Fourie and Ntuthuko Mchunu entered the fray, along with Rynhardt Elstadt. Pollard nailed another spot kick from right in front, only to miss a follow-up attempt.
Another three points from Pollard’s boot kept the scoreboard ticking over for the Boks as Wales were down to 14 men after a controversial yellow card to replacement lock Alun Wyn Jones for illegally handling at the ruck before the close of the third quarter.
With less than 15 minutes to go, Anscombe put three points on the board for Wales, but missed another shot at goal that would’ve cut the deficit further.
Ruan Nortje and Grant Williams came on inside the last minutes to make their Bok bow as the South Africans weathered the late comeback by the Welsh, before Adams finished off strongly in the left corner and Anscombe added the extras for Wales’ first victory over the Springboks in the Republic.
Source: SA Rugby