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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Springboks brush aside Welsh challenge with convincing win in Durban

South Africa were far too strong for Wales in Durban on Saturday, delivering a clinical performance to give them a 38-16 victory in the first of two Tests. A dominant forward pack and some excellent play out wide led to five tries being scored by the Springboks.

It was a rough build up for South Africa, as key back Frans Steyn pulled out of the squad and there were a few exclusions due to illness and injury, including captain Jean De Villiers. They regrouped well and on his first start, former Junior World Championship star Jan Serfontein was superb.

With the midfield worries patched up - wing JP Pietersen did the job at second center - the forwards bullied the Welsh, who had no answer for their lineout drive and speed at the breakdown.

In the first half they swept Wales aside with relative ease, and with the knockout blow delivered (28-9 at halftime), took the foot off the pedal and made a few errors in the second.

"We struggled to cope with that pace and intensity in the first half," said Warren Gatland.

"By half-time the game had gone away from us already and credit to South Africa for the way they played. I thought [Willie] Le Roux was a pest. He was outstanding and caused us a lot of trouble.

Fullback Le Roux, who made a huge amount of progress last season, had an excellent game.

"Willie is probably the best fullback in the world at the moment," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. "He was world-class tonight. He didn't set a foot wrong, he was unbelievable under the high ball and those chips were just outstanding.

"He is playing with a lot of confidence and has a license to express himself. I am very happy about his progress since he started on the wing last season. I challenged him to improve his aerial skills and defence last season and he did that very well."

When asked how the Welsh can stop Le Roux in the second Test, backs coach Shaun Edwards joked in today's press conference: "I thought about locking him in the toilet before the game."

Bryan Habana finished well to score twice, while Duane Vermeulen, Le Roux and debutant wing Cornal Hendricks crossed the tryline. Alex Cuthbert scored a very well taken try for the visitors. 

The second and final Test will be at the Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Posted at 10:03 am | 22 comments

Viewing 22 comments

I_bleed_green_and_gold June 17, 2014 12:22 pm

Great game from the boks. Really hope du preeze and le roux can stay healthy for the world cup. They are the most exciting and visionary players in the team. the subs did really poorly and added very little. Players like steyn, matfield and Co I thought were about done but seemed rejuvenated playing for the boks again.

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A deflated Welshman June 17, 2014 12:47 pm

Wales were pathetic in the first half, just got blown away and were trudging around like amateurs. This was entirely due to the pace and ferocity of the South Africans, which was outstanding. Weirdly, it was SA who looked more tired at the end but I just hope Wales can put up more of a fight on Saturday.

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Badge June 18, 2014 2:58 am

Haha love the name. The bokke need to work on fitness, doesn't help having hulking forwards if they're just walking around and laying on top of each other at every ruck for the last ten minutes. Looking forward to the next game. Go Bokkies.

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Lockdown June 17, 2014 1:36 pm

The welsh defensive line for the first two tries was diabolical. Thought the Boks played well but Wales made it very easy for them

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katman June 17, 2014 1:46 pm

How good was Willie le Roux in this game. I agree with Meyer - he's the form fullback in the world at the moment. And Jan Serfontein is still going to make plenty headlines. Crazy to think he went into this series as possibly the fourth choice inside centre, behind De Villiers, Steyn and De Allende (and possibly even Juan de Jongh).

Don't think the Welsh will roll over like this in the second test. However, they need to take a few risks and spread the ball wide. North and Cuthbert are so dangerous, but hardly got the ball on Saturday.

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Eddie-g June 17, 2014 2:28 pm

I was a bit nervous about this Wales match, but I should have more faith! Heyneke Meyer is one heckuva coach.

There's a number of key players missing through injury, but there was never any complaining, and the guys Meyer brought in played superbly. He's got no issue picking players who play club rugby overseas - 8 of the match squad play in the northern hemisphere, and a number of them, especially Louw, look indispensible.

But more than anything, he is very open-minded about testing out new talent. Willie le Roux was, at most, seen as a potential impact sub by Meyer last year. More stubborn coaches would not have done what Meyer has done, and admitted their initial view of Le Roux was wrong. The guy is a match-winner, and playing at full-back, virtually impossible to shut down defensively.

He'll be judged by world cup performances in the end, but with this Bok team he is building, Meyer is doing a seriously job right now.

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Rugbydump June 17, 2014 5:38 pm

So you're not missing Peter De Villiers then?

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ComputerSaysNo June 17, 2014 5:57 pm

>_>
There is a special place in hell for people like you.

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Eddie-g June 17, 2014 6:41 pm

I miss him like I miss Bryce Lawrence.

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Badge June 18, 2014 3:01 am

I miss PDV. He couldn't coach to save his life and it depressed me on a regular basis, but he sure could hold one hell of a press conference.

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WelshOsprey June 17, 2014 3:05 pm

Too easy for South Africa. North and Cuthbert can't tackle or understand defensive patterns even a little bit. Don't see any possible way we can win on saturday.

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DrG June 19, 2014 12:02 pm

I don't understand how this hasn't been picked up much before...

I find their both a bit 'Chris Ashton' like.. North and Cuthbert are big guys, but they come across soft as faeces..

Granted they're better than ROG, but I'd say they're on par with Ashton...

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MattyJ June 17, 2014 3:06 pm

Fabulous individual effort by Cuthbert for his try, but seemed North and Cuthbert both had issues stopping the Bok finishers, not sure how they can really stop this. Cuthbert had a hard time with La Roux breaking the line everytime and going up a pace behind Habana 'the best finisher in the world', felt for the guy

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Nate June 17, 2014 4:07 pm

Cuthbert must be frustrating for selection because he scores amazing tries like that but his defensive naivety is pretty bad at this level. A lot of times he has to defend a 2 on 1 he doesn't commit to either man, leaving the fullback or the sweeping defender exposed to both attackers.

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larry June 17, 2014 5:00 pm

The Springboks got the ball out to the wing quickly on second phase play, and broke through the Welsh defense, even with two Boks on four Welsh defenders, as in the second try shown on the video. Pinpoint passing, and using Habana's speed sure paid off. It's nice to see a team use its backs to score tries.

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jog1986 June 17, 2014 7:17 pm

Wales were out muscled, out played, out thought, out everything that you could think of. Hard running from the Boks just softened us up. We did not turn up in the first half at all. How much of this is a case of playing too much rugby considering half the team were on the Lions tour last summer as well, don't know myself but seems to have made a difference.

I think that Gareth Davies and Matthew Morgan made a very positive impact from the bench as they moved the ball around with much more pace, seemingly troubling the Boks defence. Not sure if this was tiredness, the fact that the game was already won, or whether this could happen from the beginning.

I do think that Gatland needs to take a look at this, as Warren Ball does not seem to work as our physical play just gets knocked back against the powerhouse Boks.

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Reality June 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Totally agree you can't 'out-muscle' someone who's bigger and stronger than you are. Davies, Hook and Morgan brought something different to the table and, although SA had it in the bag by then, Wales started to look far more promising. I just hope Gatland swallows his pride and makes some changes for Saturday

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stroudos June 20, 2014 9:30 pm

"Out-do what they can do. Out-jump them, out-scrum them, out-ruck them, out-drive them, out-tackle them. Until they're fucking sick of it".

... to quote the great Jim Telfer

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ruckinmaul June 17, 2014 9:28 pm

Yeah, totally agree with some of the comments saying the Warren Ball does not seem to work against SA. Against the Aussie, and the northen hemisphere teams it work well because of the physical prowess of the Welsh against them. But come on, against the mighty Springboks, not a chance though.

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Jon June 18, 2014 10:41 am

Doesn't work that well against Australia.
Wales have lost what, 9 games in a row to Aus?

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ruckinmaul June 18, 2014 9:09 pm

Ok, It looks like I'm missing the stats here. Sorry though. Welsh totally sucks against Southern Hemisphere team. Simple as that.

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DrG June 19, 2014 12:09 pm

Northern Hemisphere teams?

2014 6N results..

Wales 51 - 3 Scotland = Dominated well against the poor boys in blue
England 29 - 18 Wales = Warren Ball apparently did not work..
Wales 27 - 6 France = Dominated well against an iffy changeable country
Ireland 26 - 3 Wales = ....say no more...
Wales 23 - 15 Italy = 8 points? at home? Warren Ball is getting old...

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