Rugby Union: Boks brand Wales as worst in history

South Africa 96 Wales 13
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The Independent Online
DENNIS JOHN, the Wales caretaker coach, would like to be given the job permanently despite overseeing the heaviest defeat in his country's history.

Wales' 96-13 destruction by South Africa here on Saturday was the biggest defeat ever suffered by one of the eight major rugby-playing nations.

The 15 tries Wales conceded was another record as was the 83-point losing margin - both surpassing the 12 try 63-6 rout of Wales inflicted by Australia in 1991.

John, who took over from Kevin Bowring three weeks before Wales left for the first leg of their tour to Zimbabwe, would still like to continue, however.

"I would certainly be interested in carrying on as Wales coach on a full- time basis but I will not be putting in my application. The Welsh Rugby Union have my phone number. If they want me then they know where they can get hold of me," he said.

While John was preparing to fly home with his demoralised 30-man squad, the WRU's director of rugby, Terry Cobner, was on his way to New Zealand and Australia, where he is understood to have lined up interviews with a number of candidates. The Auckland Blues coach, Graham Henry, is believed to be the main target.

But John insists that Welsh rugby should sort out its own problems and would like to see a Welshman as national coach. "Whoever ends up as Wales coach will not have a magic wand. It is unrealistic to expect one man to turn things around," he said.

The Springbok coach, Nick Mallett, was scathing in his criticism of Wales and branded them as the worst international team he had ever seen. Mallett's contempt for the Welsh challenge was sufficient for him to use all seven of his replacements during a ludicrously one-sided second half.

South Africa led 31-6 at the break, but had scored only four tries in the opening period. Wales were blown away during the first nine minutes of the second half as the Springboks crossed the Welsh line four more times including a hat-trick clinching score for the Western Province wing Pieter Rossouw.

Wales stemmed the tide for ten minutes and scored their one try through Swansea stand-off Arwel Thomas. But in the final 20 minutes of the game South Africa scored seven more and would have topped 100 points had replacement hooker Naka Drotske not dropped a pass in the final few seconds.

Even so, John, while criticising 18 players making themselves unavailable through injury, said the tour, on which 12 players were capped for the first time, was worthwhile.

South Africa: Tries Rossouw 3, Montgomery 2, Terblanche 2, Venter 2, van der Westhuizen, Otto, Smith, Hendricks, Erasmus, Skinstad; Conversions Montgomery 9; Penalty Montgomery. Wales: Try A Thomas; Conversion A Thomas; Penalties A Thomas 2.

SOUTH AFRICA: P Montgomery, S Terblanche (M Hendricks 49), A Snyman, P Muller (H Honiball 44), P Rossouw; F Smith, J van der Westhuizen (W Swanpoel 44); R Kempson, J Dalton (N Drotske 66), A Garvey (O le Roux 66), K Otto, M Andrews (B Skinstad 42), J Erasmus, G Teichmann, captain (A Aitken 61), A Venter.

WALES: B Hayward (D Williams 48); D James, M Taylor, J Funnell (S Jones 50), G Evans; A Thomas, P John (D Llewellyn 79); M Griffiths, B Williams (G Jenkins 66), J Davies (D Morris 60), I Gough, A Moore, N Thomas, C Charvis (G Lewis 71), K Jones, captain (C Wyatt 40).

Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand).