Cape Town – Rassie Erasmus’ reign as Springbok coach got off to the worst possible start against Wales in Washington DC on Saturday.
In what can only be described as a forgettable Test, blighted by atrocious kicking and fundamental errors from both sides in front of a disappointing crowd in wet conditions, the Springboks lost 22-20 in a scoreline that flattered the losers.
The first 40 minutes were arguably the worst produced by a Springbok side in recent times as they went into the break 14-3 down, with those fans watching live on TV no doubt ruing the fact they’d stayed up for the 23:00 kick-off.
In fact it was only the introduction of fresh legs off the bench – and a yellow card to Wales centre Owen Watkin – midway through the second stanza – that the Boks fought their way into the match.
Wales, who also fielded a virtually unrecognisable 23-man team, managed to score three tries through fullback Hallam Amos, scrumhalf Tomos Williams and replacement hooker Ryan Elias. Flyhalf Gareth Anscombe added two conversions and a penalty, but missed three other kicks to keep the Boks in with a sniff.
The Boks, who fielded seven debutants in their starting XV and another six on the bench, replied with two tries by wings Travis Ismaiel and Makazole Mapimpi, the former of which was a fortuitous intercept.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who was poor in every aspect of his play, apart from kicking at poles, landed both conversions and a penalty. His replacement, Robert du Preez, added a penalty as well, but was at fault for Wales’ match-winning try having two consecutive kicks charged down, the second of which led to the crucial five-pointer.
The victory was Wales’ third consecutive over the Boks who must now regroup for the first of three Tests against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, June 9.
Tries: Amos, Williams, Elias
Conversions: Anscombe (2)
Tries: Ismaiel, Mapimpi
Conversions: Jantjies (2)
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (captain), 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Warrick Gelant
15 Hallam Amos, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Ellis Jenkins (captain), 6 Seb Davies, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Nicky Smith
Substitutes: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Aaron Wainwright, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Hadleigh Parkes