Wales suffer last-minute defeat in opening Test in Pretoria

Wales Summer Tour Squad

Wales‘ wait for a first win over the Springboks on South African soil goes on, but they came mighty close in the opening match of this three-Test series in Pretoria.

A Louis Rees-Zammit try inside three minutes had given the visitors the perfect start and the winger added a second before the break as Wales built an 18-3 half-time lead.

The Springboks got their maul into gear early in the second half, though, and that resulted in Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx touching down.

Wales were then made to pay for their ill-discipline – Alun Wyn Jones, Rees-Zammit and Rhys Carre were all sent to the sin-bin in the last quarter. They were down to 12 players for a couple of minutes when Carre was shown yellow for collapsing a maul that led to a penalty try for the Boks.

That gave the hosts a 29-24 lead going into the final five minutes, but Wales hit back when Dewi Lake broke off a maul to score.

Dan Biggar couldn’t convert the try and then conceded a penalty for a deliberate knock-on when the clock was in the red. Damian Willemse kicked the match-winning penalty and it was heartbreak yet again for Wales.

Whether they can reach the same heights in Bloemfontein next week, we’ll have to wait and see.

Wales team to play South Africa – Saturday 2 July

Liam Williams; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar (captain), Kieran Hardy; Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Dillon Lewis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate, Tommy Reffell, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Rhys Carre, Tomas Francis, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Owen Watkin.

Wales Summer Tour squad

We now know who will represent Wales on the July tour of South Africa, as Wayne Pivac named his summer tour squad.

Dan Biggar will continue on as captain of Wales, while Alun Wyn Jones is also in the squad. George North and Dan Lydiate return following lengthy injury lay-offs.

There are also call-ups for potential debutants. Cardiff’s James Ratti comes in after after his stint around the Six Nations squad, and Leicester tigers’ Tommy Reffell is in the mix too.

On captaincy Pivac said: “Dan Biggar is named captain. We’ve obviously got great leadership in the group with Alun Wyn and Dan. Dan did well in the Six Nations and Al has come back from a pretty big lay off. He’s had a little bit of rugby and we want him to hit his straps as a second row and be the best player he can be and focus on playing. He’ll lead naturally anyway but certainly he’s looking forward to that challenge.”

Wales will take on the Springboks in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town in successive weeks.

Forwards (19)
Rhys Carre (Cardiff Rugby – 16 caps)
Wyn Jones (Scarlets – 43 caps)
Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 10 caps)
Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 27 caps)
Dewi Lake (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Sam Parry (Ospreys – 5 caps)
Leon Brown (Dragons – 22 caps)
Tomas Francis (Ospreys – 64 caps)
Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Rugby – 38 caps)
Adam Beard (Ospreys – 34 caps)
Ben Carter (Dragons – 6 caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 150 caps)
Will Rowlands (Dragons – 18 caps)
Taine Basham (Dragons – 10 caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby – 89 caps)
Dan Lydiate (Ospreys – 65 caps)
Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby – 30 caps)
James Ratti (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – uncapped)

Backs (14)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 67 caps)
Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 11 caps)
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 33 caps)
Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys – 31 caps)
Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints – 100 caps) Captain
Rhys Patchell (Scarlets – 21 caps)
George North (Ospreys – 102 caps)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 20 caps)
Owen Watkin (Ospreys – 31 caps)
Johnny Williams (Scarlets – 5 caps
Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 39 caps)
Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys – 51 caps)
Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby – 16 caps)
Liam Williams (Scarlets – 78 caps)

Wales Fixtures July 2022

Sat 2 July, South Africa 32-29 Wales

Sat 9 July, South Africa v Wales (4.05pm, Bloemfontein) Live on Sky Sports

Sat 16 July, South Africa v Wales (4.05pm, Cape Town) Live on Sky Sports

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