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14 Jun 2008 17:55
Centre Jean de Villiers scored two tries as South Africa scrapped their way to a 37-21 victory over Wales in the second Test on Saturday.
Wales rebounded in fine style from their 43-17 defeat in the first Test in Bloemfontein last week and led on three occasions before ultimately not having enough firepower to push for a first win in South Africa.
The world champions started ominously, with tries by De Villiers and scrumhalf Enrico Januarie seeing them to a 14-3 lead after 17 minutes.
They failed to build on their dominance in the tight phases with loose, unstructured play and Wales fought back to lead 21-20 on the hour mark.
Wing Shane Williams—the Six Nations champions’ outstanding player—scored a dazzling try with scrumhalf Gareth Cooper going over for the visitors’ other try.
But De Villiers’s second try, with 15 minutes remaining, all but settled the outcome, with replacement hooker Bismarck du Plessis bulldozing over for a try on the final whistle to give the Springboks a flattering margin of victory.
The Springboks scored the first try after 11 minutes when De Villiers swooped on to a flat pass to crash over from five metres out. Butch James—who missed just one kick from eight—converted to give the home team a 7-3 lead.
Januarie’s converted try six minutes later was quickly negated when his Welsh counterpart, Cooper, scrambled inside the last Springbok defender to score from a clever lineout move just outside the home team’s 22.
Stephen Jones converted.
Wales claimed a one-point lead late in the first half when livewire wing Williams collected the ball from a turnover near halfway, burst up the left touchline, swerved inside and out to flatfoot flanker Luke Watson and outpaced a number of scrambling defenders to score.
James landed an easy penalty in front of the posts just before the break to give his side a 17-15 halftime lead.
Both teams traded penalties early in what developed into a scrappy second half.
As the siren sounded, replacement hooker Du Plessis powered over to score the Springboks’ fourth try and James converted to bring his personal tally to 17 points. - Reuters
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