WALES SUFFERED the first defeat of their southern Africa tour after leaking four early tries against the Emerging Springboks in Secunda yesterday.
Winners over Zimbabwe in Harare six days ago, the Welsh at least took some satisfaction from a second-half rally. The result, however, was never in doubt after the tourists came under an opening blitz during which they threatened to succumb to a far heavier defeat.
Dafydd James, the Pontypridd centre, scored their only try in a town where he spent four years as a schoolboy. But by then the Emerging Springboks had crossed the Welsh line five times and had established a comfortable 32-6 lead.
The pain of defeat was made worse for Wales by the loss of the Swansea flanker Rob Appleyard with what appeared a serious knee injury. Appleyard was carried off on a stretcher on the stroke of half-time and may be in danger of becoming Wales' third player condemned to an early return home.
Geraint Lewis, the Pontypridd flanker, was yesterday called up to replace Scott Quinnell, who is returning home with a calf injury. The Richmond No 8 also left South Africa early last year when on the Lions tour.
Dennis John, the Wales coach had named an entirely new side from that which had won 49-11 against Zimbabwe.
In the opening 20 minutes the tourists were all at sea as they conceded four tries including a hat-trick inside just 13 minutes for winger John Daniels.
Wales were struggling to live with the pace of the home threequarters and added to their problems by failing to secure their own line-out ball.
But the tourists somehow managed to stem the flow although they did concede a steady stream of penalties.
Stand-off Byron Hayward gave them hope with his first penalty after 33 minutes and then added a second shortly before the break to reduce the deficit to 24-6.
Wales came under pressure again at the start of the second half but this time their defence was far more secure.
Koen added a penalty and Fleck a fifth try after 58 minutes but the Welsh defence stayed firm from then on.
The Welsh also had the satisfaction of finishing on top as replacement James cut through for a try 11 minutes from time. Hayward and Koen both added penalties before full-time.
Australia's coach, Rod Macqueen, admits that the Scotland side his Wallaby team will face today in Sydney is different from the one Australia beat last November.
"We are expecting this to be a much tougher game than against England," he said. " The Scots now have four games under their belt since they arrived here. Moreover, a team with Wainwright in the forwards and Townsend in the backs has to be respected."Reuse content