Last-gasp South Africa break Welsh hearts
Nelspruit: A late penalty try secured a last-gasp 31-30 victory for South Africa against Wales in Nelspruit on Saturday, killing Welsh hopes of an historic win.
Wales led for most of the match, but two yellow cards late in the first half and a South African onslaught late in the second that culminated in a penalty try, proved too much for the visitors.
After a lacklustre first Test, Wales played with purpose as they tried to beat the `Boks for the first time away and dominated much of the match only to be heartbreakingly undone at the last.
With conditions perfect, both teams sought to pass the ball around in the opening stages, probing and prodding for openings in the opposition line.
Dan Biggar opened the scoring when the Springboks were again pinged at the ruck, slotting home a penalty and putting Wales 3-0-up.
After Morne Steyn had missed a chance to bag three points for his side, Wales got the first try of the game.
Alex Cuthbert collected a crash ball, broke through the `Boks`s back line, offloading to Jamie Roberts who powered in to touch down under the posts.
With Wales`s tails up and the `Boks in disarray, Cuthbert crossed the line himself just moments later, with Biggar again making the conversion.
Wales were 17-0 ahead with around a quarter of the game gone.
The wheels then came off for Wales, as close to the half-hour mark they were reduced to 14 men, with Luke Charteris yellow-carded while defending a ruck on his own try line.
The Springbok pressure quickly told.
The home side were awarded a penalty try moments later which resulted in Wales being reduced to 13 men with Biggar joining Charteris in the sin bin.
The Springboks then took further advantage with a fluid, ranging, length-of-the-field try that was eventually run home by Cornal Hendricks, his first try for his country.
That left South Africa trailing 14-17 at half-time.Wales managed to weather the first minutes of the half and when back to 15 men looked a different proposition.
After putting the ball through pressure phases in the `Boks`s 22, Ken Owens opened the second half scoring with a drive over the line from meters out.
Biggar converted making it South Africa 14 Wales 24.
On 55 minutes, Steyn briefly cut the deficit by three points with a successful penalty, only to be matched seconds later by Biggar`s own effort, which brought the score to 17-27.
It was then the Springboks`s turn to be reduced to 14 men, when Flip van der Merwe was sin-binned for taking out Wyn Jones in the air.
Another penalty for Biggar on 65 minutes increased Wales`s lead to 13 points.
With eight minutes to go, a try from in-form `Boks full back Willie le Roux and Steyn`s conversion put South Africa back within striking distance.
Then in the dying moments, Hendricks was ploughed into touch in a move that referee Steve Walsh judged to be illegal.
He awarded a penalty try which was converted by Steyn to give the `Boks a one-point advantage.