Rusty Springboks warm up for Ireland with routine Wales win at Twickenham

The Springboks’ fullback Aphelele Fassi takes a high ball during their Test match against Wales at Twickenham. Picture: Glyn Kirk / AFP

The Springboks’ fullback Aphelele Fassi takes a high ball during their Test match against Wales at Twickenham. Picture: Glyn Kirk / AFP

Published Jun 22, 2024


The Springboks saw off a gutsy Wales 41-13 at Twickenham on Saturday in their first match since winning a record fourth World Cup.

An extraordinary first-half of three yellow cards - two for Wales and one for South Africa - ended with the Springboks just a point ahead at 14-13.

South Africa had been 14-3 up before Wales scored 10 unanswered points while Springbok full-back Aphelele Fassi was in the sin-bin.

But the Springboks 'won' the second half 27-0.

Double World Cup-winning wing Makazole Mapimpi's try soon after the interval settled Springbok nerves before replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi crossed for South Africa's fourth try of the match in the 69th minute.

Debutant wing Edwill van der Merwe added a fifth try for the Springboks five minutes from time.

Defeat meant Wales had suffered a seventh successive loss - a run that includes a Six Nations wooden spoon.

Both teams were under-strength thanks to a combination of injuries and club commitments, with players at overseas teams not required to be released for a one-off Test taking place outside World Rugby's international window.

But it was the Springboks who prevailed ahead of their upcoming two-Test series at home to Ireland - the only team to beat them at last year's World Cup in France.

Wales, however, could take heart from a committed effort before they embark on a two-Test tour of Australia after avoiding the 'blow-out' defeat forecast by many pundits.

South Africa were led by Pieter-Steph du Toit for a second time, the flanker having captained them in a 22-20 defeat by Wales in Washington in 2018, as France-based regular skipper Siya Kolisi was unavailable.

Only 10 of the Springboks' World Cup final matchday 23 were on show but their starting XV still included several veteran internationals, including scrum-half Faf de Klerk, lock Eben Etzebeth and prop Vincent Koch, who was winning his 50th cap.

It was not long before South Africa went ahead.

Fassi broke clear before centre Jesse Kriel exchanged passes with Mapimpi for a fourth-minute try converted by debutant fly-half Jordan Hendrikse.

Wales fly-half Sam Costelow's penalty reduced the Springboks's lead to 7-3.

But Wales wing Rio Dyer was then yellow-carded for offside.

Soon afterwards Wales were down to 13 men, No 8 Aaron Wainwright sin-binned for pulling down a Springbok maul from a close-range line-out that led to a penalty try, as the world champions went 14-3 ahead.

Costelow then missed a routine penalty but Wales almost had a try when Liam Williams intercepted Hendrikse's pass before two excellent cover tackles by Van der Merwe prevented a score.

But with Wales back to full strength, it was South Africa's turn to be a man down with Fassi yellow-carded on the half-hour after his boot caught Taine Plumtree in the face as he jumped for a high ball.

Wales made their man advantage count moments later when captain Dewi Lake, after the hooker missed his target with a line-out throw, snaffled up the loose ball for a try.

Costelow added a tough conversion and moments later kicked another penalty to reduce South Africa's lead to just a point at 14-13.

The second half was only 88 seconds old when Mapimpi sprinted pass a flat-footed Cam Winnet after the Wales full-back was drawn out of position by Kriel, who beat him with a simple pass.

Hendrikse made light of a difficult conversion before his penalty left South Africa well-ahead at 24-13.

Debutant replacement Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu's long-range penalty from just inside his own half extended the Springboks' lead to 14 points before the world champions added two late tries.