South Africa’s high hopes of victory in next year’s Rugby World Cup were shattered by Wales as the Springboks suffered a humiliating defeat at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff today.
Wales scored only their second victory over the Springboks since 1906 as they out-thought and outclassed a South African side that yet again looked everything but the second best side in world rugby.
Going into the game, Wales’ New Zealander coach Warren Gatland had won only one test in 27 matches against the powerhouses of the southern hemisphere but after running the All Blacks close the week before, his Dragons were up to the task against the Springboks.
Gatland’s solitary win against a Sanzar team was against the Wallabies, 21-18, back in 2008, but Gatland had the satisfaction of outmanoeuvring his South African counterpart Heyneke Meyer in a dull international in which neither team played any enterprising rugby.
In the end, there were no tries scored – Leigh Halfpenny’s four penalties trumping the two kicked by Patrick Lambie.
Although the Springboks had to make many changes in the build-up because of injuries and calls by professional clubs to which South African players are contracted, the Boks were just not in the game.
The propensity to be too individualistic, which has reappeared on this tour, came again to the fore.
To top a dismal day, Bok skipper Jean de Villiers suffered a serious knee injury.
The test brought the curtain down on the 2014 season, giving Meyer a record of played?14, won?10,
The defeats were against New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Wales.