Home Sport Credit to the Springboks says Wales captain

Credit to the Springboks says Wales captain

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Wales arrived at Cape Town Stadium with high hopes of achieving more history in South Africa, but things went pear-shaped virtually as soon as they ran out to the pitch against the Springboks.

Wales captain Dan Biggar credited the Springboks for the way they won the the third Test in Cape Town. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Cape Town – Wales arrived at Cape Town Stadium with high hopes of achieving more history in South Africa, but things went pear-shaped virtually as soon as they ran out to the pitch in Saturday’s series decider against the Springboks.

Having lost reserve flyhalf Gareth Anscombe to a rib injury on Friday, the Welsh sustained a further crucial blow when influential No.8 Taulupe Faletau withdrew following the warm-up.

Wales coach Wayne Pivac explained that Faletau had picked up a side injury in the first Test defeat at Loftus Versfeld, and had played through the pain barrier in last week’s memorable 13-12 triumph in Bloemfontein.

But he opted to sit out after feeling it again before the match, and it meant that Josh Navidi – normally an openside flank – had to fill in at No.8. And while Navidi put in a typically whole-hearted effort, Wales missed the classy touches and physicality of Faletau and went down 30-14 to lose the series 2-1.

To his credit, Pivac didn’t want to use that as an excuse, and rather pointed to a few key incidents that contributed to the final result.

“We came here with the goal of trying to win the series, and we were serious about that – it wasn’t just talk. And the players worked really, really well together and did well on this tour. We take a lot of positives out of that,” the New Zealand mentor said in the post-match press conference.

“We are obviously pleased to have got the history of the win last week, but certainly this week, there were just some big moments at times where the pressure that South Africa applied on us paid dividends for them.

“I would probably refer to the exit charge-down coming out of our 22 and putting ourselves under pressure, and then there were a couple of lineouts – attacking situations – at 17-14 and in the last quarter of the game where we were not straight and over-threw.

“So, those were big moments in the game… We will learn from that, but in all, pleased with the tour itself – just disappointed with the score-line at the end of the day.”

Wales captain Dan Biggar had brought his team right back into the game with two vital penalties to reduce the Bok lead to 17-14, but the South Africans rallied in the second half to close out the game, with skipper scoring a decisive try.

“We didn’t start brilliantly. Obviously South Africa had a lot of momentum early doors and got into the lead, and they are a difficult team to (claw) back. We fought back in the second 20 minutes of the first half, and probably didn’t quite get full value for the play we had,” Biggar said.

“I just think that, to be fair to South Africa, we got right back in it at the start of the second half – it was 17-14 – and the game was in the balance then.

“But I thought South Africa, full credit to them, just strangled the game a little bit. They won penalties at set-piece, turned the screw and played territory. Just forced us to make a couple of errors, and just probably… It felt like we spent a lot of time in our half, and we probably didn’t spend enough time in applying pressure in their half.”

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