In Pretoria the guests fly with the double from Rees-Zammit, then suffer the tries of Mbonambi, Marx and Kolbe, collect 4 yellow cards and finally give in on Willemse’s position. In San Salvador de Jujuy, the Pumas wet the debut of the new coach by beating Scotland 26-18
& commat; robertoparretta
South Africa trembles for a long time, goes under, comeback, takes advantage of 4 yellow cards, but in the end to bend Wales in Pretoria it takes Damien Willemse’s free-kick, which gives the world champions the victory by 32- 29 in the first of a series of three test matches scheduled between the two teams. In Argentina there was a lot of anticipation for the first outing of the Pumas under the guidance of the new coach Michael Cheika: the wait paid off with a convincing 26-18 win over Scotland.
Special event that of Loftus Versfeld (sold out, 52 thousand spectators), as South African fans were finally able to return to see their Springboks live after the restrictions for Covid and the first time since South Africa became world champion in 2019: 1050 days have passed since the last time. And Wales on the pitch for the first time since the death of the legendary Phil Bennett, honored before the anthems with a minute of silence. It is the guests who unlock it after just 2 minutes: from a touchdown in mid-court, open play to the right and the ball that passes quickly through the hands of Nick Thompkins and George North, to trigger the run on the out of Louis Rees-Zammit, who places an impregnable sprint from 40 meters to the dive in goal. Biggar misses the difficult transformation, but on 9 ‘he puts in a great drop from over 40 meters. Elton Jantjies and Biggar then make a place each.
South Africa presses, but it is never dangerous and at the first uncertainty undergoes another try: from a touchdown in mid-field for Wales the throw goes beyond the lines, Jantjies seems to arrive first on the ball, but in the contrast with Thompkins he loses it, Rees-Zammit rushes in and with a kick sends it towards the 22 unguarded opponents, collects it after the rebound and crushes it under the posts, for the easy transformation of Biggar. That shortly before the interval he receives the yellow card for a professional foul on the ground. At rest it goes to 18-3, but the Springboks reopen it immediately, with Bongi Mbonambi who is in charge of finalizing the work of the maul triggered by a touch on 5 meters. The hooker then leaves the field to Malcolm Marx, who scores in photocopy in the 51st minute, closing the unstoppable advancement of the maul in half. Willemse only converts the first, but then Biggar between 55 ‘and 63’ slips two places and brings Wales back to +9. The South African reaction is immediate and in the 65th minute with a long attack starting from touch he manages to engage the Welsh defense in the 5 meters, then Faf de Klerk is very good at returning to the right side where the numerical superiority is exploited by Willemse with an angled grubber that it goes perfectly to settle in the hands of Cheslin Kolbe for the dip at the flag (Willemse transforms). The action also cost the yellow to Alun Wyn Jones (substitute in the second half), offside in an attempt to defend on the first breakthrough attempt. At 74 ‘Wales is surprised by a run in the midfield of Kolbe and on recycling they let themselves be slipped from Willemse’s break and manages to avoid the goal only with the foul that costs the yellow to Rees-Zammit: with two more men the Springboks go for the touche at 5 meters, the maul advances inexorably and the Welsh voluntarily make it collapse, granting the technical goal that actually decides the match (with another yellow to Rhys Carre).
But in the 77th minute the incredible happens: reduced to 12 men Wales earns a punishment, goes into touch inside the 22 opponents just in time to find at least Wyn Jones on the field, then the maul, albeit in a rather disordered way, leads the way and Dewi Lake is the one who decides to go out with the ball to squeeze into the hole. Biggar misses the difficult transformation and remains at 29-29, but, thanks to the infamous decision of Kieran Hardy, who instead of freezing possession for the last 30 “kicks the ball in the opponent’s half, gives South Africa a last possession with two more men: so when Biggar interrupts a pass by committing a voluntary forward, Willemse can go for the goalposts and make the victory. Wales remain, perhaps undeservedly, empty-handed and thus remedy the eleventh defeat in the 11 games played at South Africa.
In San Salvador de Jujuy Cheika’s adventure does not start under the best auspices, as the scrum-half Tomas Cubelli gets hurt in the warm-up: Gonzalo Bertranou will play. The game, however, is well set up by the Pumas, even if the score moves only thanks to the placing of Nicolas Sanchez (4 ‘and 18’) and Blair Kinghorn (16 ‘and 26’). Then in less than 5 minutes the hosts hit twice: first with Jeronimo de la Fuente, who breaks through over the goal line and rolling on Ali Price’s tackle manages to crush, then with Santi Carreras (replaced Sanchez), who dives from a short distance after having collected the oval made available by Juan Cruz Mallia, stopped a few centimeters from the line by a miraculous defense by Duhan van der Merwe. Emiliano Boffelli transforms the second and at rest it goes to 18-6. Scotland replied in the same way at the beginning of the second half, with two tries in 8 minutes: first with Mark Bennett who, served on the run by a beautiful pass from Kinghorn, flew into the defense hole, then with Rory Hutchinson, once again on assist of the number 10 of Edinburgh, which first sows Bertranou, then from behind offers the oval to the extreme. Kinghorn transforms the second for 18-18. But on the following kick-off, it is Bertranou himself who picks up after Boffelli’s splendid catch in the air and slips away from his opponents to crush the flag from the closed side. At 9 ‘from the end, a place by Boffelli is worth +8 which closes the game.
July 2, 2022 (change July 2, 2022 | 23:25)
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