Wales 16 South Africa 33

Habana flies in to dash Wales' dream Wales 16 South Africa 33

A record 41-3 home defeat to the All Blacks and a lucky 11-10 victory against Fiji was followed by a 17-point reverse against a Springbok side whose performance was described by their coach, Jake White, as "not very good." Much of the damage was self-inflicted, as Ruddock was quick to concede. "I've seen a lot of spirit from my side," the Wales coach said. "But we're making too many errors."

The flying Bryan Habana punished two of those errors with tries on the overlap on the left. He forced another on the opposite wing with a grubber kick that yielded a score for Conrad Jantjes. There was no faulting the Welsh spirit but their cover defence at vital moments was barely existent.

There was the consolation of a late score for Ceri Sweeney but, with five of their Lions still licking wounds, there was only a trickle of the free-flowing play that swept Ruddock's men to the Grand Slam last spring. The biggest wound the Springboks suffered was of their own making, Percy Montgomery marking his return to South Wales with two yellow cards that added up to an early bath.

The former Newport-Gwent Dragon hardly had the best of nights all round, missing four of his seven kicks at the posts. He landed his first penalty in the second minute, but pulled his next effort wide after Habana was shoulder charged into touch by Shane Williams after chasing his own chip for the line on the left. It was the Welsh defence that was pulled apart in the 13th minute, though, as the Springboks worked the ball from wide on the left to wide on the right and back again, advancing from their own half to the Welsh 22, before Habana steamed in unopposed to maintain his try- per-game ratio on his 14th Springbok appearance.

It was a small mercy for Wales that Percival Colin Montgomery was not on par with his left boot. The full-back's hooked conversion kept the lead down to 8-0 before Stephen Jones landed his first pot at the posts on his 50th international game. Montgomery then fleetingly regained his touch and Jones replied with another successful penalty before Wales finally made some attacking ground.

Shane Williams almost made it into the opposition 22 but was bundled off the ball by Jaque Fourie. Within seconds the Springboks were in the opposite corner of the field, Martyn Williams performing a superb one-man cavalry act, holding up C J van der Linde on the line to save a seemingly inevitable try.

Nevertheless, Wales continued to struggle to contain the powerful, pacy South African as half-time approached. A forward pass by Jean de Villiers ruled out a score from a crash-ball take by Fourie, while another wayward Montgomery penalty kept the Springbok lead down to 11-6 at the break. It stretched to 15-6 in the 44th minute, though, Habana flying up the left flank to score on the overlap again.

Montgomery missed once more with the boot and was then missing from the pitch for 10 minutes, sin-binned for following through on a slam-dunk tackle on Shane Williams with a dig on the floor at the flyweight Welsh wing. Chris Horsman followed Montgomery into the pitch-side cooler, courtesy of a punch aimed at Van der Linde. The decisive blow, though, came on the hour, Jantjes pouncing on a Habana grubber kick that Sonny Parker failed to trap in the in-goal area.

Meyer Bosman, impressive on his debut at outside-half for the Springboks, converted from close to the touchline and then Montgomery returned to add a penalty to the ticking South African tally. The Dragons old boy was not back for very long, though - a second yellow for a borderline high tackle on Shane Williams swiftly turning to a red.

The Welsh try was a fine one, Sweeney cutting a superb angle to take a delightful inside pass from Shane Williams. The final flourish, though, came from South Africa, Schalk Burger feeding Danie Rossouw for a close-range score in the final minute.

Wales: L Byrne (Llanelli Scarlets); D James (Llanelli Scarlets), G Thomas (Toulouse, capt), S Parker (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Clermont Auvergne), G Cooper (Newport-Gwent Dragons); D Jones (Ospreys), R Thomas (Cardiff Blues), C Horsman (Worcester), I Gough (Newport-Gwent Dragons), R Sidoli (Cardiff Blues), C Charvis (Newcastle), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), M Owen (Newport-Gwent Dragons). Replacements: A Jones (Ospreys) for Horsman 8-14, for Charvis, 60; C Sweeney (Newport-Gwent Dragons) for G Thomas, 48; M Watkins (Llanelli Scarlets) for Parker, 61; M Davies (Gloucester) for R Thomas, 65; M Phillips (Cardiff Blues) for Cooper, 72.

South Africa: P Montgomery (Natal); C Jantjes (Lions), J Fourie (Lions), J de Villiers (W Province), B Habana (Blue Bulls); M Bosman (Cheetahs), M Claassens (Cheetahs); L Sephaka (Lions), J Smit (Natal, capt), C J van der Linde (Cheetahs), B Botha (Blue Bulls), V Matfield (Blue Bulls), S Burger (W Province), J Smith (Cheetahs), J Cronje (Blue Bulls). Replacements: O du Randt (Cats) for Sephaka, 36; D Rossouw (Bulls) for Botha, 70; D W Barry (Stormers) for de Villiers, 74; B Russell (Sharks) for Jantjes, 74.

Referee: S Dickinson (Australia).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'