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Wales 12-6 South Africa

BBC Sport Wales at the Millennium Stadium

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Wales claimed only their second ever win over South Africa with a display of guts and cool control in Cardiff.

Leigh Halfpenny kicked all of Wales’ points, converting four of his five penalty kicks before going off injured.

South Africa were limited to two Pat Lambie penalties as Wales largely contained the Springboks attacking threat.

The tourists had a late five-metre scrum but the Wales pack disrupted the set-piece to seal a famous win.

Perhaps of more concern, however, was the injury to captain Jean de Villiers, who was carried off having dislocated his kneecap.

Much of the build-up to the match featured Wales coach Warren Gatland fielding questions about whether he was under pressure because of losses this series to Australia and New Zealand, taking his record to just one win in 27 matches against the southern hemisphere big three.

This win, to add to Wales’ previous victory over South Africa in 1999 – also at the Millennium Stadium – provided a perfect riposte and kick-starts their build-up to next year’s World Cup in England.

Opposite number Heyneke Meyer had not been under quite the same scrutiny, although their 29-15 defeat by Ireland in their opening tour game had raised some questions that were answered in subsequent wins over England and Italy.

Both sides were missing players because of injuries and recalls to clubs, as this match took place outside World Rugby’s official international window.

With George North concussed, Liam Williams stepped into the vacant Wales wing slot, given the opportunity to redeem himself after conceding the last-gasp penalty try that denied them victory in June’s second Test in Nelspruit.

Gatland had also suffered a run of injuries among his loose-head props, while Paul James had to depart back to Bath, but he could still call on British and Irish Lion Gethin Jenkins to fill the number one shirt.

Hooker Richard Hibbard had also been recalled to Gloucester, while South Africa had to change their entire back three with wing Bryan Habana and full-back Johan Goosen returning to France and JP Pietersen departing for Japan.

Wales full-back Halfpenny and Springboks fly-half Lambie exchanged early penalties, with Halfpenny unfortunate to hit the outside of the post with a later effort.

Space for the backs to work in was at a premium in a hotly contested first half, with both sides up quickly with some typically fierce defence.

Wales’ best moments came from chips ahead to turn the Springboks, the tactic enjoying particular success down the left wing.

Twice Williams came close to collecting the bouncing ball to plunge over the try line, but each time Lwazi Mvovo was there a split-second before, covering across to snuff out the danger.

South Africa almost broke the deadlock when Eben Etzebeth surged through the midfield, but he knocked on as the lock was scythed down by Halfpenny’s thumping tackle on the 22-yard line.

Lambie missed a long-range penalty that would have sent the Boks into the changing rooms with a narrow half-time lead, leaving the match delicately poised at the halfway stage.

Halfpenny and Lambie again exchanged early penalties after the restart, with the Springbok stand-off showing his range by slotting from the halfway line.

Wales enjoyed the best period of the game after that, keeping the ball in hand to pressurise the visitors into conceding two more penalties that Halfpenny converted.

Through all of this, the Wales half-back partnership of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar shone, using possession wisely and keeping a level of control that South Africa found hard to wrest away.

Meyer used his bench early, making four changes including putting Handre Pollard on at fly-half in place of Lambie.

But the Springboks coach was forced into another change soon when captain De Villiers was carried off, replaced by Damian de Allende.

South Africa suffered a further blow when Cornal Hendricks was sin-binned for taking out Halfpenny in the air.

The Wales 15 was clearly shaken by the collision and left the field soon after, with Scott Williams coming on and Liam Williams switching to his preferred full-back position.

Spurred on by their man advantage, Wales laid siege to the Springboks line but met furious resistance as first Jamie Roberts and then Scott Baldwin were stopped just short.

In the closing minutes, South Africa earned a five-metre scrum that threatened to undo all Wales’ hard work and deliver another gut-wrenching late loss to a southern hemisphere side.

But the Wales pack rose to the challenge, making a mess of South Africa’s platform and allowing the ball to be cleared upfield.

Wales kept their heads and kept the Springboks at bay for the final few moments to seal a well-deserved, and long overdue, win.

Wales: Halfpenny (Scott Williams 67), Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Roberts, Liam Williams, Biggar, Webb, Jenkins, Baldwin, Lee, Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau.

Replacements (not used): Emyr Phillips, Jarvis, Rhodri Jones, Charteris, King, Mike Phillips, Priestland.

South Africa: Le Roux, Hendricks, Serfontein, De Villiers, Mvovo, Lambie (Hougaard 58), Reinach, Mtawarira (Nyakane 54), Bismarck du Plessis (Strauss 58), Oosthuizen (Redelinghuys 70), Etzebeth (De Jager 69), Matfield, Coetzee, Mohoje (Carr 54), Vermeulen.

Replacements (not used): Pollard, De Allende.

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Cardiff Central is the nearest station to the Stadium and operates mainline services from West Wales, the Midlands, the South Coast and London. Cardiff Queen Street Station is a 15 minute walk to the east of the Stadium and offers local rail services across Cardiff and from the South Wales Valleys.

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As it happened: Wales 27-13 Springboks

Thanks for tuning in!

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs and let’s hope we see change in 2017.

The Springboks’ next assignment will be a three-Test home series against France next June.

‘SA rugby is in a dreadful, dreadful state.’ – Nick Mallett #SSRugby

— Clinton van der Berg (@ClintonV) November 26, 2016

Wales beat the Boks for the third time in 111 years! 8th loss in a year. Is this the future of Bok rugby we’re looking at? Pretty sad.

— Tony Johnstone (@TonyJohnstone56) November 26, 2016

Annus Horribilis – a year of disaster or misfortune.

This sums up the year the Springboks had. A brilliant description.

Welsh players not even remotely over the moon to beatThe Boks. https://t.co/p4LZaJadJ8

— Stefan Terblanche (@StefanT15) November 26, 2016

Congratulations to Justin Tipuric today’s @UnderArmourUK Man of the Match #UASeries #WALvSA pic.twitter.com/pKXBx2jm0v

— Welsh Rugby Union ?? (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 26, 2016

The best news for the Boks is that the season is over. Rock bottom just became rock rock bottom. Clean house starting with SARU!

— Graeme Joffe (@Joffersmyboy) November 26, 2016

FULL-TIME: Wales 27-13

Wales claim only their third win in history over the Springboks.

— Ben Karpinski (@followthebounce) November 26, 2016

77′- CONVERSION slotted by Halfpenny.

BBC Sport rugbyunionwelsh

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Wales 25-29 South Africa

Wales (17) 25
Tries: North 2, Hook. Cons: S Jones 2. Pens: S Jones 2.
South Africa (9) 29
Tries: Alberts, Matfield. Cons: M Steyn 2. Pens: M Steyn 5.

Highlights – Wales 25-29 South Africa

Replacement Willem Alberts turned the game on his South Africa debut as Wales’ Tri-Nations misery continued in a scintillating clash in Cardiff.

Teenager George North scored two stunning tries on his Wales debut, with James Hook adding another as the home side found their attacking flair.

But the Boks hit back after the break as Alberts and record-breaking captain Victor Matfield crossed for tries.

Morne Steyn kicked 19 points to underpin South Africa’s win over Wales.

Victory at the Millennium Stadium helped the Springboks regain second spot in the world rankings and keep their grand slam dreams alive.

Gatland ‘gutted’ by defeat

Wales have won one just one of their 12 games against Tri-Nations opposition under coach Warren Gatland, and have only beaten South Africa once in 104 years of competition – in 1999 in Cardiff.

Their next chance to overcome the Boks will be in Wellington, New Zealand, on 11 September in the opening game of their World Cup campaign.

Wales’ hopes of a psychological boost ahead of that showdown had been rocked by the late withdrawals of Gethin Jenkins and Dan Lydiate from the starting 15.

From the opening kick-off, Jonathan Thomas was turned over as he collected the ball, gifting the lethal Steyn an early penalty.

The home side fired straight back with a multi-phased attack, exciting the die-hards in the sparse 54,027 Millennium Stadium crowd by choosing to boot a kickable penalty to touch.

They were rewarded as Stephen Jones’ delightful slip pass in midfield sent teenage debutant North on a clear run to the line, the Boks crying foul as Tom Shanklin’s off-the-ball collision with Jean de Villiers created the space for the giant wing.

Bryan Habana went close as South Africa fired straight back to the Welsh line, only to be thwarted as Mike Phillips forced Ruan Pienaar to knock on and a huge defensive scrum cleared the danger.

The fact that Wales had rediscovered their strike power was evident as fit-again full-back Lee Byrne expertly fielded a long kick into the Wales 22 and released the 6ft 4in North for a powerful run into the Springboks’ half.

The ball was quickly recycled and fired to Shane Williams on the left, the veteran not to be outdone by wing partner North as he jinked inside the exposed Jannie du Plessis, before delivering an inside pass for Hook to canter in under the posts.

Steyn clawed back a penalty to atone for an earlier miss, Hook wide with a long-range effort before Jones’ third successful kick made it 17-6 to the home side.

Pressure continued to mount on the visitors, who were desperate to mark captain Matfield’s 103rd cap – a Springbok record – with a victory.

But it was the lock legend’s opposite number Alun Wyn Jones and late stand-in Andy Powell who were more prominent with their driving play, as much-criticised Wales half-backs Jones and Phillips ran the show with aplomb.

With half-time looming referee Steve Walsh, officiating his first Test since 2008 after disciplinary problems with the International Rugby Board, then sparked outrage in the crowd.

With the stadium clock having passed the 40-minute mark he allowed the Boks to play an attacking scrum in the Wales 22.

Matfield happy with defence

Wales repelled them with some furious defence, but conceded a penalty that allowed Steyn to reduce the gap to eight points at the belated break.

Williams left the fray at half-time with arm and shoulder injuries from a heavy Francois Steyn tackle that could threaten his part in the rest of the November series, to be replace by Chris Czekaj.

But Byrne and Martyn Williams got Wales straight back on the front foot and Stephen Jones extended the lead with a penalty.

The points were cancelled out as the Boks’ heavy driving game set up Morne Steyn for his fourth kick, South Africa ratcheting up the power game by bringing on hefty back-rower Alberts for his Test debut.

Wales wilted under the physical onslaught, man-of-the-match Pierre Spies also to the fore, but were granted a temporary reprieve as Bjorn Basson knocked on with the try line beckoning.

Another penalty chance came, Matfield choosing to go for the corner and keep Wales on the rack.

The reward came as a superb driving line-out opened up the blind-side, the ball fired to Alberts who resisted Czekaj’s brave challenge to plough over.

The grip did not relax one bit as the Springboks eight drove back to the Wales 22, and when the ball was spun to Matfield in midfield the record-breaking powerhouse could not be denied the try that took South Africa back in front.

With Wales reeling, a charged-down kick got them back on the front foot with attacking ball on the visitors’ 22.

Stephen Jones showed great vision with a hanging cross-field kick to the right-hand corner that North was able to gather for his second try, Jones narrowly missing with the conversion to leave his side trailing by a single point.

Alberts’ driving play continued to cause chaos, though, the Boks close to another try but settling for a Steyn penalty.

Hook sent Shanklin through on a clean midfield break, but the centre failed to spot Byrne outside him and the chance went begging.

The atmosphere reached fever pitch as Wales maintained a sustained assault on the visitors’ line through to the 84th minute, but the obdurate Boks held out for their 12th successive win over Wales.

Gatland’s men have now won just one of their last 11 Tests, a record they will be desperate to improve against Fiji on Friday.

Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); George North (Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Paul James (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, capt), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Andy Powell (London Wasps), Martyn Williams (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys).
Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys) for M. Rees (72), John Yapp (Blues) for James (71), Ryan Jones (Ospreys) for Powell (60), Deiniol Jones (Blues) for AW Jones (73), Richie Rees (Blues) for Phillips (69), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys) for Shanklin (39-41 blood bin), Chris Czekaj (Blues) for S. Williams (43).

South Africa: Gio Aplon; Bjorn Basson, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (capt), Bakkies Botha; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle for B. du Plessis (73), CJ van der Linde for J. du Plessis (75), Flip van der Merwe for Botha (60), Willem Alberts for Stegmann (46), Francois Hougaard for Pienaar (59), Zane Kirchner for Habana (73), Patrick Lambie for M. Steyn (67).

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia).

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Rugby – Wales explore squad depth against under-strength Boks

(Reuters) – Wales will hand a debut to New Zealand-born centre Hadleigh Parkes a day after he becomes available to the team as one of five changes to their side for the test against struggling South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Warren Gatland is exploring the depth of his squad with the next World Cup in Japan a little under two years away.

Yet after defeats to Australia and New Zealand already this autumn, he will not want to go into 2018 with another loss against what will be an under-strength Springbok side.

Inside centre Parkes, who only becomes eligible through residency to represent Wales on Friday, will partner Scarlets club mate Scott Williams in the midfield, while Gatland has also handed a start to scrumhalf Aled Davies.

The selection of Davies is a surprise, with first-choice Rhys Webb on the bench having come through concussion protocols this week, and the recognised second in line, Gareth Davies, not in the match-day squad altogether.

“We have spoken about exposing the squad to test match rugby and this weekend is a great opportunity for Hadleigh to earn his first cap and for Aled to make his first start of the campaign,” Gatland said in a statement from the Welsh Rugby Union on Thursday.

“Saturday is an opportunity to continue to build on what we have done so far and round off the autumn campaign with a big performance.”

Gatland has also made three changes to his forward pack with hooker Kristian Dacey and prop Scott Andrews coming into the front row alongside Rob Evans, while lock Cory Hill will partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row. The loose-forward trio remains unchanged.

“We have had a couple of knocks from last weekend, with Ken (Owens), Leon (Brown) and Jake (Ball) unavailable, but that just provides an opportunity for Kristian, Scott and Cory to start,” Galtland said.

Wales have won both their previous two home matches against the Springboks, who claimed some revenge with a narrow 23-19 victory in the quarter-finals of the World Cup two years ago.

The Boks have been hit by the unavailability of their overseas-based players as the fixture falls outside the international window, and will name their side later on Thursday.

15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Hallam Amos, 13-Scott Williams, 12-Hadleigh Parkes, 11-Steff Evans, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Aled Davies, 8-Taulupe Faletau, 7-Josh Navidi, 6-Aaron Shingler, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4-Cory Hill, 3-Scott Andrews, 2-Kristian Dacey, 1-Rob Evans.

Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Wyn Jones, 18-Rhodri Jones, 19-Seb Davies, 20-Dan Lydiate, 21-Rhys Webb, 22-Rhys Patchell, 23-Owen Watkin.

Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.

Millennium Stadium | Rugby

Known for its electric atmosphere, the Millennium Stadium (now renamed the Principality Stadium) is one of the greatest sporting venues in the World, with fans and players alike stating how brilliant it is to be part of game day in Cardiff. Read on to find out more about our 2019 Six Nations hospitality packages.

Picture yourself as part of a 60,000 strong crowd walking along the River Taff up to the gates of the towering figure that is the stadium. With the roof closed the sound builds to a crescendo as the players run onto the pitch amongst lights and flames of fireworks. Definitely one to experience.

Autumn International Matches:
Wales v Scotland | Principality Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 3rd November 2018
Wales v Australia | Principality Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 10th November 2018
Wales v Tonga | Principality Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 17th November 2018
Wales v South Africa | Principality Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 24th November 2018

Six Nations Matches:
Wales v England | Principality Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 23rd February 2019
Wales v Ireland | Principality Stadium, Cardiff | Saturday 16th March 2019

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Immerse yourself further into the atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium by going with one of our hospitality packages in either the Players’ Lounge or Millennium Lounge Package. Take a look below for inclusions.

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Lewis Moody VIP Club (Wales Vs England Only)

Join the Lewis Moody VIP Club, as Paragon take Twickenham’s Premium Hospitality Facility to Cardiff for the latest instalment of Wales v England.

Package inclusions:
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Gethin Jones with 2 other rugby legends are your hosts for the day in the Players’ Lounge at the Millennium Stadium, giving you their views of how the match will go. The views of the rugby are spectacular around the halfway mark and the food and champagne reception add a touch of class to the day.

Package inclusions:
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• Complimentary bar (ex. Champagne)
• Q&A with legends of rugby
• After game cheese board
• Gift from Millennium Stadium

Millennium Lounge Package

The Millennium Lounge is a private facility where you will be visited by a rugby legend during your day. The seating is located at the halfway line and the food/drink is excellent as you would expect from this prestigious venue.

Package inclusions:
• Champagne on arrival
• 3 course lunch
• Complimentary bar (ex. Champagne)
• Visit from rugby legend
• After game cheese board
• Gift from Millennium Stadium

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