Rugby World Cup 1999
South Africa struggle to victory over Spain
October 16, 1999
Deon Kayser vies with the Spanish defence
© Getty Images
South Africa's virtual second string team made hard work of overcoming a courageous Spanish side 47-3 in their Group A match here on Sunday. The win all but booked their place in the quarter-finals but coach Nick Mallett can hardly have been pleased by what he saw.
In the final 20 minutes Mallett brought on Test captain Joost van der Westhuizen to try and end the comedy of errors that was embarrassing South Africa. Despite the pundits forecasting 100 points at least for South Africa it was 30 minutes before the Springboks got on the scoreboard when full-back Breyton Paulse made a clever break before slipping the ball to captain Andre Voss who crawled over after losing his footing just short of the line.
Again it was Paulse who set up the second try only three minutes later. Collecting a poor clearance he rushed through a gap in the Spanish defence, drew the full-back and passed to scrum-half Werner Swanepoel who had no one in front of him to stop him touching down.
The defending world champions got the fright of their life in the opening minutes of the match - with the Spaniards showing no respect for their illustrious opponents.
The Spaniards should have gone in front after only 11 minutes when the South Africans gave away a penalty in front of the posts but out-half Aitor Etxeberria hooked his kick wide.
Despite being overwhelmed in the scrums the Spanish made the most of the ball when they found space to run. Full-back Francisco Puertas was ready to run it whenever he got the chance and he nearly paid for his courage when he was hit by the giant Krynauw Otto. It was nearly five minutes before Puertas was able to get to his feet. With time running out Swanepoel broke down the right wing before putting Anton Leonard free. Jannie de Beer converted for his third of the half.
South Africa's superior forward strength told in the second-half and within ten minutes Voss scored his second touch down when the Springbok pack brushed the Spanish aside on their own line after only ten minutes.
South Africa was awarded a penalty try in the 70th minute when the Spanish pack was again in trouble. Courageous Spanish defending refused to bend in the dying minutes and in the end the only option was for Vos to kick over the defence for Peter Muller to score the easiest of tries.
Bobby Skinstad got his name on the score sheet when the South African's got a pushover try in injury time. But Ferran Velasco got the biggest cheer of the evening from the sparse crowd when he converted a penalty in the 56th minute to put the Spaniards on the scoreboard.