Youthful Wales torn to shreds

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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

ROBERT COLE

reports from Johannesburg

South Eastern Transvaal 47 Wales 6

When you are getting ready to play the world champions in a week's time the last thing you want to do is lose to a third division South African provincial side. And when that beating contains five tries without reply you might be forgiven for fearing the worst for Ellis Park on Saturday.

Yet you will not find Alex Evans, the caretaker Welsh coach, down in the mouth. He knew the enormity of the task his young squad was facing on this two-week "Mission Impossible". But not even he could have predicted such a poor result in Witbank, even with a team of novices.

Easterns' cohesiveness, strength, commitment and determination to win proved too intoxicating a combination for the fresh-faced Welshmen who, according to their manager Geoff Evans, were taught "a salutary lesson that shows exactly where we are".

At the end of the first half Paul Arnold and Paul John both got to within a metre of the home line before being relieved of the ball. Then, with the last move of the game, what seemed to be a scoring pass to Alan Harris was intercepted by Jacques Bodenstein, who romped 85 metres to score.

If that summed up the Welsh day, two more of Easterns tries will have caused greater concern. The first, by Gerhard Erasmus came after five minutes, when he combined with Jacques Benade to turn a penalty which the Welsh players thought was going to be kicked for goal into a sucker score in the corner. The other was scored by Marius Bosman, who breezed past Neil Jenkins as if he was not there.

South Eastern Transvaal: Tries G Erasmus, J Visagie, M Bosman, R Fourie, J Bodenstein; Conversions J Benade 5; Penalties J Benade 3; Drop goal J Benade. Wales: Penalties A Williams 2.

South Eastern Transvaal: J Bodenstein; K Benade, C Greeff, G Gendall, S Naude (J Visagie, 29); J Benade, G Erasmus; H Swart, F Engelbrecht, J Espag, M Bosman, P de Lange, F Rossouw, T Oosthuizen (capt), R Fourie.

Wales: J Thomas (N Jenkins, 29); A Harris, G Jones, M Taylor, S Hill; A Williams, P John (capt, A Moore, 61); A Lewis, G Jenkins (J Humphreys, 61), L Mustoe, D Jones, P Arnold (G Prosser 41, C Loader 78), A Gibbs, C Wyatt (H Taylor 41), M Bennett.

Referee: I Rogers (Sarfu).

n Chester Williams will miss the Test against Wales after being concussed in an incident with his fellow Springbok James Small during Western Province's 23-22 defeat by Natal in the Currie Cup on Saturday. Western Province are to take further action over the collision, in which Williams's head appeared to strike Small's knee.

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