Match report: Springboks ease to victory over Wales
PA Sport
November 24, 2007
Date/Time: Nov 24, 2007, 14:45 local, 14:45 GMT
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wales 12 - 34 South Africa
Attendance: 56756  Half-time: 5 - 22
Tries: Charvis, Stoddart
Cons: Hook
Tries: Fourie 2, Kankowski, Pietersen, Smith
Cons: Pretorius 3
Pens: Steyn

World champions South Africa gave departing coach Jake White a winning farewell by crushing Wales 34-12 to claim the Prince Williams Cup at the Millennium Stadium.

World champions South Africa gave departing coach Jake White a winning farewell by crushing Wales 34-12 at the Millennium Stadium.

The Springboks scored five tries - centre Jaque Fourie (2), flanker Juan Smith, wing JP Pietersen and number eight Ryan Kankowski touched down - to keep Wales at a safe distance.

Wales, under the guidance of caretaker coach Nigel Davies prior to New Zealander Warren Gatland's arrival next week, produced some impressive passages of play.

But they were restricted to tries in each half by flanker Colin Charvis - whose 22nd Test score set a new world record for a forward - and impressive full-back newcomer Morgan Stoddart.

South Africa fielded nine of their World Cup final-winning team against a new-look Welsh side at the Millennium Stadium.

The Springboks' first game since they lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy after beating England in Paris five weeks ago, also marked coach Jake White's final game in charge.

Wales - under the guidance of caretaker coach Nigel Davies - handed Llanelli Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart his Test debut, while Ospreys centre Gavin Henson made a first international start since November last year.

But Davies also knew it would be his last match at the helm, with New Zealander Warren Gatland starting work as head coach next Saturday.

A closed roof kept out wintry weather conditions, but the stadium was likely to be a third empty following pre-game ticket sales that barely touched 50,000.

Kick-off was delayed almost eight minutes by a protracted meet-and-greet ceremony, then fireworks created a smog under the closed roof.

It was little wonder then that Wales fell behind in the fourth minute when Springboks centre Francois Steyn slotted a 48-metre penalty which rekindled memories of a similar strike against England at Stade de France in October.

Wales gave as good as they got in the opening exchanges, with centres Henson and Sonny Parker prominent, and South Africa were unable to establish any momentum.

Territorially, Wales were on top, but handling errors dominated the contest, especially in close-quarter combat where both sides were guilty of numerous mistakes.

Referee Chris White did his utmost to let the game flow, and approaching the end of a committed opening quarter, Wales remained in reasonable shape, trailing by just three points.

South Africa undid Welsh optimism in a flash though, cutting them open from their first serious attack.

Fly-half Andre Pretorious freed flanker Juan Smith in space, and he powered through attempted tackles by fly-half James Hook and wing Mark Jones to claim a slick try.

Pretorious added the conversion, hoisting South Africa 10-0 ahead, but Hook then missed a glorious chance to open Wales' account by rifling wide an easy penalty chance.

Hook's blunder evoked memories of a similar miss during the World Cup-ending defeat against Fiji in Nantes eight weeks ago.

And worse was to come for Wales, whose early promise totally evaporated as South Africa increased the tempo.

The Welsh defence just could not cope as impressive approach work by skipper John Smit and full-back Ruan Pienaar allowed centre Jaque Fourie to cross unopposed.

Pretorius again missed the tricky conversion, but South Africa were not finished, and a third try in 11 minutes left Wales in disarray.

Pretorious' delightful offload freed wing JP Pietersen, who put Fourie away for his second touchdown. The fly-half converted, making it 22-0.

Wales though, managed a try of their own before the break when flanker Colin Charvis claimed his 22nd Test touchdown - a world record for a forward.

Hopes of a Wales revival following Charvis' try - he beat Italian lock Carlo Chechinatto's record - were dashed within six minutes of the restart.

Bryan Habana's first run of note split the defence and fellow wing Pietersen had the simple task of finishing things off.

Pretorius' conversion made it 29-5 but Wales kept plugging away, their cause being helped when Springboks substitute Albert Van Den Berg was sin-binned just 60 seconds after replacing Bakkies Botha.

And Wales made their one-man advantage count when Hook's crosskick was gathered by Stoddart for a try that Hook improved.

It was resilient stuff by Wales, and a cue for Davies to summon fresh legs, sending on scrum-half Mike Phillips, hooker Rhys Thomas and lock Luke Charteris.

South Africa were rattled by Wales' resistance, although they still had significant breathing space generated by a 17-point advantage.

Wales, encouraged by Stoddart's effort, established promising field position during the closing quarter, yet South Africa again stung them.

Impressive debutant Ryan Kankowski claimed the Springboks' fifth try 13 minutes from time, and then it was a case of Wales seeking another consolation score.

They kept plugging away - their attitude could not be faulted - and South Africa had a second player sin-binned three minutes from time when substitute hooker Bismarck Du Plessis departed.

Wales huffed and puffed without further reward though, and South Africa ensured a successful start to their reign as world champions.

Wales (5) 10
Tries: Chavis, Stoddart

South Africa (22) 34
Tries: Smith, Fourie (2), Pietersen, Kankowski
Con: Pretorius (3)
Pen: Steyn

Attendance: 55,000

Wales: M Stoddart (Llanelli Scarlets); M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), S Parker (Ospreys), G Henson (Ospreys), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues); J Hook (Ospreys), D Peel (Llanelli Scarlets); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, capt), H Bennett (Ospreys), R Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons), I Evans (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), C Charvis (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Sowden-Taylor (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys).

Replacements: T R Thomas (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragos), A Popham (Llanelli Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys), C Sweeney (Dragons), T James (Cardiff Blues).

South Africa: R Pienaar (Natal Sharks); J P Pietersen (Natal Sharks), J Fourie (Golden Lions), F Steyn (Natal Sharks), B Habana (Blue Bulls); A Pretorius (Golden Lions), R Januarie (Golden Lions); C J Van Der Linde (Free State), J Smit (Clermont Auvergne, capt), J Du Plessis (Free State), B Botha (Blue Bulls), J Muller (Natal Sharks), S Burger (Western Province), J Smith (Free State), R Kankowski (Natal Sharks).

Replacements: B Du Plessis (Natal Sharks), H Van Der Merwe (Golden Lions), A Van Den Berg (Natal Sharks), H Lobberts (Blue Bulls), W Olivier (Blue Bulls), A Ndungane (Blue Bulls), C Jantjes (Golden Lions).

Referee: Chris White (England).

Touch judges: Dave Pearson (England) and David Changleng (Scotland).

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