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Inexperienced Wales suffer mauling at hands of ruthless South Africa – The Guardian

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So that’s what happens when you pit the world champions and their behemoths against an inexperienced side filled with players from the fringe. Warren Gatland names his World Cup squad on Monday and selected this matchday 23 in the hope a few lesser-known names would put their hand up. After an eight-try pummelling, this felt like asking a young boxer to cut his teeth against Mike Tyson in his prime.
South Africa were bigger, stronger, faster and more ruthlessly efficient than their hosts. They monstered the breakdown and clattered anyone in red who had the misfortune of getting near them. The Springboks move ahead of France into third in World Rugby’s rankings and if anyone needed evidence of the chasm that exists between the top teams and the rest, this was it.
Malcolm Marx opened the scoring inside five minutes. The giant hooker was a menace with ball in hand and on the floor but his job was made simple by Siya Kolisi who wriggled past an overly exuberant Tom Rogers and off-loaded like a man who has not missed 119 days of competitive rugby.
Wales had the lead on 21 minutes thanks to two penalties from Sam Castelow but that was as good as it got. Soon after Canan Moodie was the latest beneficiary of a Willie le Roux assist that came off the back of a rampaging run through the middle by RG Snyman.
There were green jerseys everywhere. Le Roux was pulling strings at first receiver. Cheslin Kolbe was zigzagging like lightning. Jaden Hendrikse kept the ball fizzing from scrum-half and that meaty pack kept on rumbling. Moodie would have had his second on 34 minutes but Rio Dyer knocked the ball from his grasp and straight into touch. After deliberation, the referee, Andrew Brace, called for a penalty try before showing Dyer yellow.
“The only positive we can take is hopefully there is a lot of learning from that,” said Gatland, who questioned the penalty try and the yellow card, arguing that Moodie missed the bouncing ball. “It’s disappointing. We gave up some soft tries.”
Jesse Kriel closed out a dominant half by falling on to his first Test try for five years after Kolbe tackled Mason Grady into the goal area. At 24-9, this was over as a contest. But those Welsh fringe players still had a case to make and they started the second half with greater intent. They came close to scoring their first try with a swift break down the left but just as the ball was recycled back infield, Pieter-Steph du Toit intercepted and then unleashed Kriel who ran the length of the field to slide between the poles.
The Principality crowd is renowned for its vocal support but all you could hear was the ebullient cheers from a sizable South African contingent. Bloodthirsty calls of “Bokke. Bokke. Bokke” shook the foundations. Even before the clock reached the hour mark, Du Toit scored off the back of a rolling maul and Moodie’s blistering line speed helped him snaffle an intercept try of his own.
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The half-century was raised on 68 minutes when Manie Libbok spiralled a delicious flat ball to the replacement Damian Willemse, who skipped round a defender. Libbok had a poor game off the kicking tee but this was proof of the magic he can produce when playing from the front foot.
Willemse was sent to the sin-bin for a head-to-head shot on Dyer and with the man advantage Sam Parry burrowed around a ruck from short range to register Wales’s only try with eight minutes to play.
The replacement hooker came up roaring with the ball. If that gets him on a plane to France, the score will be quickly forgotten.


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