Rugby World Cup 2011: South Africa 17-16 Wales
Winger Shane Williams reflects on controversial kick that cost Wales
Combative back rower Schalk Burger admits Springboks battled hard
Jamie Roberts admits dressing room low after slender defeat
Rhys Priestland says he will take time to reflect on missed drop goal
Springboks sneak win in bruising clash
South Africa came from behind to secure a thrilling 17-16 World Cup win against Wales in Wellington on Sunday.
Trailing 16-10 with 15 minutes to go, substitute Francois Hougaard scored the all-important try and Morne Steyn kicked the conversion to break Welsh hearts once more.
But given the margin of victory Wales could well feel aggrieved by the result as a first-half penalty from James Hook which appeared to slide just inside the upright was not given.
Francois Steyn scored the only try of the first half to help the Springboks to a 10-6 lead at the break.
But Wales dominated much of the second half and their efforts were finally rewarded when big No.8 Toby Faletau slid over and Hook converted which gave the Welsh real hope of ending their 12-year drought against the defending world champions.
The crowd had barely settled into their seats when Francois Steyn dived over in the corner for the game’s first try after two minutes. Namesake Morne added the conversion.
Wales were determined to play running rugby when they finally got hold of some ball but had to settle for a Hook penalty when the Springboks went off their feet at the ruck.
It was a high tackle by JP Pietersen on Mike Phillips that presented Wales with their second points-scoring opportunity, only for Hook’s penalty to be judged wide despite it appearing to go inside of the upright.
Morne Steyn slotted his second penalty shortly afterwards when Danny Lydiate strayed offside at the ruck to stretch the Springboks lead to 10-3 with a quarter of the game gone.
South Africa suffered a setback in the 25th minute when de Villiers was forced from the field with a rib injury and was replaced by Butch James.
Again the Dragons had to settle for another three points from Hook’s boot instead of five when Schalk Burger failed to roll away at the ruck ending a promising attack started by a strong straight run by Roberts.
The half ended with failed dropped goal attempts from Morne Steyn and Priestland, who grew in confidence as the game wore on.
Wales came out firing after the break and went straight on the attack. But again a lost ball – this time by Faletau – let the Springboks off the hook.
Wales finally got their noses in front in the 54th minute when the TMO confirmed Faletau had scored the try their attacking endeavour deserved.
Again Roberts was to the fore with another hard, straight run down the middle. The forwards then carried the attack on up to within five metres with a series of pick and drives before Priestland’s pass put the big No.8 in space and he slid over.
Hook’s conversion made it 16-10 to Wales.
But the Springboks bench provided the desired impact and with 15 minutes to go Hougaard was in under the posts and Morne Steyn’s conversion edged the Springboks in front by a point and they doggedly hung on.
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