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Wales vs South Africa LIVE: Rugby result and reaction from 2021 Autumn International fixture tonight

Relive all the action from Cardiff

Jamie Braidwood
Saturday 06 November 2021 20:17
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Jonathan Davies says patience is key for Wales in battle with South Africa

World champions South Africa ended a run of four successive away defeats against Wales by claiming a dramatic 23-18 victory at the Principality Stadium.

It was the Springboks’ first win in Cardiff since 2013, but they did not secure it until substitute hooker Malcolm Marx scored a 73rd-minute try and Elton Jantjies kicked a penalty.

Despite being without injured captain Alun Wyn Jones and a host of other absent British and Irish Lions, Wales delivered a towering performance, with fly-half Dan Bigger kicking six penalties.

Biggar’s sixth successful penalty put Wales back in front at 18-15, although there was drama just a minute earlier when the hosts attacked through Liam Williams just as a spectator ran on to the pitch only a few metres away from him.

Williams had to jump over the pitch invader before he was duly led away, although Wales would not have scored.

Handre Pollard kicked four penalties and Frans Steyn one for South Africa, yet Wales bounced back superbly from a 54-16 drubbing against New Zealand last weekend.

And their outstanding performer was flanker Ellis Jenkins who suffered a major knee injury against the Springboks three years ago and had not played Test rugby since.

Wales were without Jones, while other unavailable Lions included Ross Moriarty, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and George North, with centre Jonathan Davies taking over as skipper.

South Africa made three switches from the side that beat New Zealand last month, with full-back Damian Willemse, wing Jesse Kriel and scrum-half Herschel Jantjies all featuring behind an unchanged pack.

Wales made a bright start and shaded the early possession, with Biggar mixing his running and kicking game impressively before wing Louis Rees-Zammit was denied a try by brilliant Springboks cover defence.

Biggar kicked Wales into the lead through a 10th-minute penalty, but Pollard landed an equalising strike two minutes later as persistent drizzle swirled around the stadium.

Biggar restored Wales’ advantage through a second penalty, while South Africa saw Willemse go off for a head injury assessment as Steyn joined the action.

A tight opening quarter reached its conclusion with South Africa showing an early sign of scrum dominance and Pollard kicking a second penalty to make it 6-6.

South Africa attempted to launch their main ball-carriers at Wales, but the home side defended superbly, with Jenkins at the forefront.

Biggar completed his penalty hat-trick 13 minutes before the break, and referee Paul Williams’ growing impatience at South Africa’s poor technical discipline saw him engage in a lengthy conversation with Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi.

South Africa then saw prop Ox Nche yellow-carded for obstruction on Tompkins, and Biggar’s fourth successful penalty opened up a six-point advantage.

But even though Wales had prop Rhys Carre sin-binned for a technical infringement, they deservedly claimed a 12-9 interval lead after Pollard landed a third penalty.

South Africa sent on a replacement front row of Steven Kitshoff, Marx and Vincent Koch just five minutes after the restart as they looked to establish a foothold in the game.

Wales were forced into a defensive rearguard, but they tackled and harried magnificently before breaking away, forcing South Africa to infringe, and Biggar kicked a 45-metre penalty.

It was a stirring effort by the home side, and although the Springboks looked more threatening in attack than during the first half, it required a 52-metre penalty from Steyn for their next points.

South Africa, however, had other ideas, breaking into Wales’ half from 70 metres out, but wing Makazole Mapimpi had a try disallowed, and the home side retained their narrow advantage before Marx struck following a relentlessly-driven lineout, but Elton Jantjies missed the conversion.

Jantjies final kick penalty, though, meant South Africa sealed the deal and finally broke Welsh resistance.

Despite being without injured captain Alun Wyn Jones and a host of other absent British and Irish Lions, Wales delivered a towering performance, with fly-half Dan Bigger kicking six penalties. Follow below for latest reaction:

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Wales vs South Africa

Over at Twickenham, England have just put the finishing touches on a 69-3 mauling of Tonga.

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Jamie Braidwood6 November 2021 17:27
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Wales vs South Africa

South Africa enter the Principality Stadium, which is not quite full but pretty close to it, followed by Wales and the eruption of red-hot flames at pitch-side.

Time for the anthems.

Jamie Braidwood6 November 2021 17:25
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Wales captain Jonathan Davies said his side will have to be patient as they compete with South Africa’s kicking game, on what is a sodden night in Cardiff.

“There has been a huge focus this week on the physicality that South Africa bring, the huge kicking battle it will be and the importance of staying in that and making sure we don’t lose patience,” he said

“They are world champions and they know how to win games. Our focus this week is making sure in that arm-wrestle we come out on top and making sure when our opportunities come that we take them.

“Those victories we’ve had [against South Africa] at home, I think it has come down to physicality from us, the ability to move the ball and just change the point of attack.

“When you play these very good teams, you have to make sure that all aspects of your game have to be on point to earn the victory. We understand the task ahead with South Africa and their physicality.

“You have to be smart, play in the right areas, make sure we control the tempo of the game, where the game is played and not fall in the trap of how South Africa want to play.”

Jamie Braidwood6 November 2021 17:21
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South Africa have made some key changes as they bid to end their long wait for a win in Cardiff. While the forward pack is set, Damian Willemse has been handed the nod at full-back, Jesse Kriel starts on the wing while Herschel Jantjies has been given his third start for the Springboks at scrum-half. Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am resume their fearsome midfield partnership, with Handre Pollard at fly-half.

Jamie Braidwood6 November 2021 17:11
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Four games, four defeats: you have to go back to 2013 to find the last time the Springboks secured a victory in Cardiff, but Wales head coach Wayne Pivac is preparing for as tough a test to the one posed by New Zealand last weekend.

Pivac, speaking to Amazon Prime: “They’re a different proposition to New Zealand. The last game they beat New Zealand so they’re obviously a side in form at the moment. They’ve got a big forward pack, they’ve got a massive kicking game and chase game, and they’re a very good defensive side so in these conditions they’ll be a hard nut to crack.

“You never plan for injuries but you’ve got to roll with the punches. To lose Alun Wyn, he’s so inspirational to this side with his leadership qualities, he’s obviously a loss but it’s a chance for other guys to step up and take ownership Guys like Adam Beard and Ellis Jenkins, those sorts of players need to step up. It’s a bid day for Ellis too on his return.”

Jamie Braidwood6 November 2021 16:58
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With Alun Wyn Jones set to be ruled out for the Six Nations, Wayne Pivac’s side must rally together in the absence of their inspirational captain.

Ken Owens is also out for the hosts, with Pivac calling on the likes of Adam Beard and Ellis Jenkins to step up, alongside stand-in skipper Jonathan Davies.

Jenkins’ story is a fascinating one. It’s been three years since the flanker made his last international appearance. On that day, he was the man of the match in a Welsh victory over South Africa and looked set to be a key figure ahead of the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup the next year.

But Jenkins then suffered a serious knee injury to sour what was an impressive 20-11 win for the hosts. As they welcome the Springboks back to the Principality Stadium, it would be an incredible story if Jenkins was to contribute to another Wales victory.

Jamie Braidwood6 November 2021 16:46
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Follow live coverage of Wales vs South Africa from Cardiff tonight.

Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies takes over the captaincy from an injured Alun Wyn Jones as Wales target a fifth successive home victory over the Springboks.

A number of other injury absentees include Jones' fellow British and Irish Lions Ken Owens, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric and George North.

But Wales, beaten 54-16 by New Zealand in their Autumn Nations Series opener last weekend, are bolstered by returning stars such as Louis Rees-Zammit and Dan Biggar.

The Springboks knocked Wales out of the 2015 and 2019 World Cup tournaments, but South Africa's recent record in Cardiff is poor by their standards.

They have lost four successive Tests in the Welsh capital since claiming a 24-15 victory eight years ago.

Follow latest updates and analysis.

Ben Burrows6 November 2021 16:31

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