Wales 18-23 South Africa: Marx try the clincher as hosts suffer cruel blow

By Sports Desk November 06, 2021

South Africa held their nerve in a terrific tussle to win 23-18 against a Wales side who were left to bemoan the moment a pitch invader cost them a likely try.

On a wet evening at the Principality Stadium, this game remained on a knife-edge throughout, the only points coming from the boots of Dan Biggar, Handre Pollard and Frans Steyn until Malcolm Marx crossed the Welsh line seven minutes from the end.

Elton Jantjies booted a penalty with the last kick of the contest, resulting in the five-point winning margin.

Wales had been level at 15-15 in the 63rd minute when a spectator burst onto the pitch and got in the way just as a chance to break through the South Africa defence presented itself.

Liam Williams looked to have a near-enough clear run to the left corner, but the presence of the intruder, with security staff looking to grapple him away from the action, meant momentum went and the chance was lost.

This was a thundering clash throughout, South Africa handling the early threat posed by Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit, as Biggar and Pollard kept the scoreboard ticking along.

Both sides had a player yellow-carded for persistent team infringements before the break, with Ox Nche and Rhys Carre sent to the bin, and Wales led 12-9 at the break.

The hosts nudged 15-9 ahead but were pegged back to 15-15 as South Africa rallied after a penalty from within his own half by Steyn. Wales then moved in front again after Biggar's sixth penalty, which followed moments after the intruder was escorted away, with supporters in the stands directing their anger his way.

South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi sprinted through to dot down but a TMO review picked up an offence and chalked it off. There was no denying the Boks in the 73rd minute though, when they drove irresistibly over the Welsh line, Marx grounding the ball.

Jantjies, on for Pollard, missed the conversion attempt from close to the touchline, meaning South Africa were just two points clear, but Wales could not find a response.


Close... as it was bound to be

It is now the case that 13 of the last 15 meetings between these teams have been decided by single-figure margins, with 11 of those games seeing the sides separated by six points or fewer at the final whistle.

Friend or foe?

It was unclear how or why the intruder came to be on the pitch, but Wales had every cause to be furious about the fan's presence. There was no doubt he was a distraction just as Wales got themselves into a position to threaten the try-line. Had Wales got over at that stage, there might have been a very different outcome.

Related items

  • Jones 'feels sad' for Woodward after call for England 'scrutiny' Jones 'feels sad' for Woodward after call for England 'scrutiny'

    England head coach Eddie Jones has hit back after criticism from Clive Woodward.

    The team's former head coach called for England's situation – including Jones' position – to be "scrutinised" should they fail to beat Scotland in next year's Six Nations opener.

    England suffered a 27-13 defeat to world champions South Africa on Saturday, having also recently been beaten by Argentina at Twickenham, with doubts growing over their credentials ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup following a poor showing during the Autumn internationals.

    With just one win in November against Japan, England's schedule concluded with a loss to a Springboks team missing key European-based players.

    Woodward led England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup crown and he believes Jones' position should be under threat ahead of the latest Rugby Football Union (RFU) review, writing in his Daily Mail column: "England are not just losing, they are going backwards at an alarming rate of knots.

    "A full and totally transparent review must be done immediately to look into where the team are at. As head coach, Eddie Jones has serious questions to answer. Everything must be scrutinised."

     

    Speaking to Men's Health UK, Jones issued a sharp response, claiming he is currently at the peak of his coaching powers.

    "I feel sad for him [Woodward]," he said. "If that is the best thing he has to do in his life, then he hasn't a lot to do.

    "I'm 62 now and I think in pure coaching terms I am coaching better than I ever have. Results aren't always perfect, but I'm happy with how I have been coaching.

    "After this, I want to do something really meaningful. I've enjoyed England a lot, it was a bit of a rescue job at the start, now rebuilding, and I am confident I will leave things in good shape."

    Jones has already said he will leave the role after next year's World Cup.

  • Robshaw convinced Jones is right man to lead England and makes Southgate comparison Robshaw convinced Jones is right man to lead England and makes Southgate comparison

    Chris Robshaw is convinced Eddie Jones remains the right person to lead England at next year's Rugby World Cup and drew comparisons to Gareth Southgate's success in football.

    The Australian endured a difficult November campaign, with defeat to South Africa in their final game capping a worst calendar year performance for the team since 2008.

    With the sport's showpiece tournament set to kick off in France next September, England have 10 months to try and play their way into form and go one better than their run to final in Japan in 2019 where they were downed by the Springboks.

    Robshaw acknowledged it has been a bruising year for England but believes Jones is the right man for the job, likening him to Three Lions boss Southgate, who has defied critics twice in major tournaments.

    "I have been in these situations and the autumn can be tough because you are playing against the best teams in the world," he said at the launch of the Robshaw Kerslake Foundation he has set up with wife Camilla.

    "It is about taking your medicine and thinking, okay, in this competition and in this series we weren't quite good enough, but we can come back stronger.

    "We also have to learn to move forward, you can't look down on it too much because there are still positives to come from it, and we need to think about how we can be better next time we meet.

    "They were saying the same thing about Gareth Southgate and the England football team and now look at how they have played in this World Cup, they have been superb so far.

    "In sport, things change very quickly, and I very much believe Eddie is the right man to lead the squad.

    "From my experience, he is the best man-manager I have ever worked with and his ability to make players better and better.

    "He is someone who will definitely go away and study what went right and very much importantly, what went wrong and why it didn't work.

    "He will want to go back out there and prove people wrong, and I have no doubt he is the right man."

  • Phillips hails 'amazing talent' Bellingham and England strength in depth Phillips hails 'amazing talent' Bellingham and England strength in depth

    Kalvin Phillips has hailed Jude Bellingham as an "amazing talent", and says England's strength in depth can only help them across the rest of the World Cup.

    The Manchester City man made his tournament debut off the bench in the Three Lions' final Group B match, notching an assist as Gareth Southgate's side ran out 3-0 winners over Wales.

    For Phillips, an injury doubt ahead of Qatar 2022, his Euro 2020 starting berth has been filled by Borussia Dortmund teenager Bellingham, who is now the second-youngest England player to amass 20 caps after Wayne Rooney.

    But the 26-year-old is more than happy to reap the success of his team-mate, suggesting the sky could well be the limit for his growth with the national side.

    "I knew a few years ago that Jude would be a major part of this team, with the way he's performed not just for England but for Dortmund," Phillips said.

    "He's an amazing talent. He's one of those kids that just goes out on the training pitch, and [he] is only going to become a better player."

    Bellingham is not the only talent impressing in Qatar, with Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden both seizing the chance to impress after starting against Wales.

    With the addition of Jack Grealish and Callum Wilson offering threat off the bench, plus Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka, Phillips firmly believes England are stacked with game changers.

    "We have got amazing strength in depth," he added.

    "I think with the players that we've got, there are times when you [will] miss out and not play as much.

    "But when you've got people like [City team-mate] Jack [Grealish] coming off the bench, and Marcus, who can play anywhere across the front three, we've just got a lot of options.

    "There are so many people to pick out who have talent. We see it as a positive for England."

    With more goals scored than any other nation at the World Cup so far, there is plenty of reason for optimism, as England look to make it three last-four finishes in major tournaments on the trot.

    Phillips says it can be difficult to keep their feet on the ground, but paid credit to Southgate's staff as crucial to ensuring they stay focused.

    "It's hard sometimes, but we have a good group, good coaching staff," he added. "[We have] good managers who will always keep us grounded, especially Steve Holland.

    "We won't get too high about [beating Wales]. We'll be happy about the result, but we're just going to rest up and focus on the next one."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.