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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wales vs South Africa - Wembley 1998

Wales vs South Africa - Wembley 1998

Wales host South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday as the World Champions take on the Grand Slam winners at home. We thought wed take a look back ten years as in 1998 we saw two very contrasting matches taking place, with 6 months being a very long time in rugby.

Wales toured South Africa in June of that year with an inexperienced side and got the hiding of all hidings at Loftus Versfeld as the Boks ran riot, winning the game 96-13.

In November though, with the Millennium Stadium still being developed, Wembley played host to a rematch as the Springboks took on the Welsh at their temporary home. 55 000 people turned up in the hope of seeing an improved performance from the Welsh side whos pride took such a knock only a few months earlier.

The home side raced off to a fantastic start as a quick tap from Rob Howley sparked a surge up field that ended in Gareth Thomas, with a full head of hair, diving in at the corner for a superbly taken try.

With Neil Jenkins on song, Wales sped ahead to a 14-0 lead as the kicking maestro tallied up 600 points in international rugby.

South Africa fought back though, and after a period of pressure on the Welsh tryline, were awarded a penalty try, shortly before Pieter Rossouw broke the line and offloaded to scrum half Joost Van der Westhuizen for the try.

The sides went into the halftime break level, but through the second half penalties were traded, with the score eventually sitting on 20-20 with little time remaining and a draw looking on the cards.

A break from the persistent Van der Westhuizen resulted in the ball ending up in Andre Venters hands after a Rassie Erasmus fumble. Venter fell over the line to snatch the win and break Welsh hearts after such an impressive start to the match.

The conversion was missed, but a late penalty meant the score ended at 28-20 to South Africa after a classic Test between the two sides.

This year Wales went down 2-0 to the Springboks in South Africa, despite showing performances that were anything like the disaster of June 1998. Saturday looks set to be another classic as the two sides meet on the spectacular stage that is the Millennium Stadium.


Time: 01:48
Note: The quality and editing on this is a little sketchy at times, but we'd like to make another appeal to all those with older footage from tapes etc, to submit or edit it, and we'll feature it on the site.
Extra: You can view an interesting interview with Bryan Habana ahead of the match here

Posted at 12:34 pm | 12 comments

Viewing 12 comments

EnglishScott November 05, 2008 2:05 pm

Class match, looking forward to the weekend's festivities!!

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durrie November 05, 2008 4:02 pm

Bok Team of 1998...pure class...should have brocken the NZ record of 17 consecutive wins but Mallet got ahead of himself and we could only draw it level...Anyways...this weekend promises to be a huge game as always. Wales are looking good and S.A are experimenting up front...What ever happens you can expect FIREWORKS...can't wait!

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Jamie November 05, 2008 4:48 pm

Great match, nice to see highlights of some classic encounters.As a welshman i can't wait for the weekend. Won't say anything as arrogant as wales will definitely win but i reckon it will be a close match. I think the wales team is pretty strong and i hope they can push SA hard.Would be great to see Andy Powell and Leigh Halfpenny have good debuts too :)

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Angry Baggers November 05, 2008 6:52 pm

Should be interesting, but South Africa will edge it - I'm still not convinced by the Welsh pack.Any chance of some Jack Kyle highlights? He was a bit before regular televisation, but it would be nice to see him in action.

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Anonymous November 05, 2008 8:00 pm

the welsh team has never had a brilliant pack. They won the grandslams buy having a solid defence, a good kicking game and they could score tries when needed.Anyways, i cant wait for the match and i really want to see how Powell, Halfpenny and Roberts get along.

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Anonymous November 05, 2008 9:14 pm

God that 96-13 game was terrible, Welsh rugby was in turmoil and certain clubs like Cardiff refused to realease players.So many players that needed to go were left at home, and the team that wentwell it was a massacre before it even began.

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K Lu November 06, 2008 1:36 am

Wales has a real chance, despite coming up short twice already. Millennium will be rocking this weekend and hopefully the home crowd takes Wales over the top! Can't wait - should be brilliant no matter what!

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billybob November 06, 2008 3:54 am

even though halfpenny is playing well should his first international game be against bryan habana?i have doubts about that one anyway hope its a cracker :)

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SA supporter November 06, 2008 7:26 am

ahh.. i miss van der westhuizen.. best scrumhalf!!!

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robert November 06, 2008 11:55 pm

Thanks RD .. some nice football and a good reminder of the class of Van der Westhuizen who I find much easier to praise now that he's not slipping through miniscule gaps around the ruck against the ABs.Gotta say that the penalty try looks a bit soft .. I'm not sure if the try needed to be "probable" or "definite" in 1998 but in this case it was probably just a definite maybe .. the Welsh didn't seem too shocked, so fair enough .. although the ref didn't hang around under the posts for very long.

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David November 07, 2008 11:51 am

van der westhuizen was a class act, as was Row Howley in his day, cant wait for the game on saturday, the ever dangerous shane williams should be a thrill to watch.should be one hell of a game!

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Joo Antnio Gro November 07, 2008 3:26 pm

Van der Westhuizen and Justin Marshall were the best scrum halfs that i've ever seen playing!

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