Sunday, November 14, 2010
The Springboks came back from being down 20-9 to hang on in the face of immense pressure and beat Wales 29-25 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Welsh debutant George North scored a pair of tries, but it was the visitors who left celebrating.
Victor Matfield became the highest capped player for South Africa as he made his 103rd appearance in Test rugby, beating the record of Percy Montgomery. Matfield captained the try on the day, and managed to score in what was an action packed game of rugby.
The Welsh came out all guns blazing with North, making his debut at the age of just 18, scored early after a great backline move created space for his to glide through. James Hook crossed not too long after that, with Shane Williams and a massive overlap proving the difference.
At halftime it was 17-9 and the Springboks looked out of it, not only on the scoreline but in terms of their overall performances. There was somewhat of a turning point shortly before the half though as Williams, who can turn a match, went off injured after a heavy Francois Steyn tackle. Tom Shanklin went off in the same passage of play.
The Springboks looked a different side in the second half as Morne Steyn narrowed the deficit, then loose forward Willem Alberts, on debut, scored a try. Matfield scored a few minutes later, adding to their 17 unanswered points.
North then scored his second after a well placed Stephen Jones crosskick, before Steyn stretched the Springbok lead again with another penalty. Despite an incredible assault on the visitors line for a full three minutes of extra time, the World Champions showed their mettle and hung on for a nailbiting win in what was a frantic finish to the match.
It was the second narrow win in succession for the Boks, following the 23-21 win over Ireland last weekend. They now head up to Scotland for their next game in pursuit of the Grand Slam.