October 25, 2019 / 11:51 AM / 24 days ago

Rugby-Five of the best: Wales v South Africa

TOKYO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Five notable matches between South Africa and Wales ahead of Sunday’s World Cup semi-final.

The two nations have played 35 times with South Africa winning 28, Wales six and one draw.

2016 - Wales 27-13 South Africa, Cardiff

The first of four successive wins over South Africa by the Welsh condemned the disorganised Springboks to their worst ever year of test rugby.

Flanker Justin Tipuric capped an outstanding individual performance with a late try to secure the victory and Leigh Halfpenny added 17 points with the boot as Wales beat South Africa for only the third time.

South Africa lost eight of 12 tests that year, including all three on their November tour, deepening the crisis in the country’s game 12 months after they finished third at the World Cup.

2015 - South Africa 23–19 Wales, Twickenham

The Springboks advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup after this close victory over Wales secured in the 75th minute by a try from scrumhalf Fourie Du Preez.

The South Africa pack had got a shove on in a scrum inside the Welsh 22-metre line before number eight Duane Vermeulen picked up the ball and headed off down the blindside.

It needed two Welsh tacklers to take down the big man and when he found Du Preez with an offload, the Springboks skipper was able to scamper away and touch down in the corner.

2011 - South Africa 17–16 Wales, Wellington

The first meeting between the two nations at the World Cup was a pool match decided by a converted try from replacement winger Francois Hougaard 15 minutes from time.

The Springboks had marched down to the Wales line from the kickoff with fullback Frans Steyn crossing in the second minute but Wales hit back through the kicking of James Hook and a Toby Faletau try from close range.

Despite the narrow loss, Wales got to the semi-finals that year, while South Africa made a quarter-final exit after coming up against Australia.

1999 - Wales 29–19 South Africa, Cardiff

Wales got their first win over the Springboks at the 13th attempt in the opening match at the new Millennium Stadium in front of a crowd restricted to 28,000.

“The Great Redeemer” Graham Henry was Wales coach and flyhalf Neil Jenkins kicked 19 of the home side’s points with five penalties and two conversions.

Centre Mark Taylor scored the first try at the new home of Welsh rugby and winger Gareth Thomas crossed for another, while fullback Percy Montgomery and scrumhalf Werner Swanepoel replied for the tourists.

1970 - Wales 6-6 South Africa, Cardiff

The last tour of Europe by a Springbok team for nearly a quarter of a century was the focus of major protests by anti-apartheid campaigners leading to a tight police cordon around Cardiff Arms Park.

Heavy rain had left the pitch a quagmire and the Springboks led 6-3 late in the game through a Sid Nomis try and a HO de Villiers penalty against a single penalty from Wales captain Gareth Edwards.

Scrumhalf Edwards went over in the corner to level up the scores but he was unable to get the rain-sodden ball between the posts to snatch the win.

This was the dawn of a decade-long golden era for Welsh rugby and Phil Bennett, later to form a formidable halfback partnership with Edwards, made his debut on the wing. (Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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