Wales captain hails Anscombe, Wainwright after maiden win over Boks in SA

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Gareth Anscombe kicked the conversion that sealed South Africa's fate in Bloemfontein. (Photo by PHILL Magakoe/AFP)
Gareth Anscombe kicked the conversion that sealed South Africa's fate in Bloemfontein. (Photo by PHILL Magakoe/AFP)

Wales captain Dan Biggar said replacement flyhalf Gareth Anscombe had shown "absolute character" with a touchline conversion to give Wales a historic 13-12 win in the second Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The victory was the first by Wales against the Springboks in South Africa, after 11 losses spanning 58 years, including a 96-13 drubbing in 1998.

"He's had a difficult couple of years with injuries and it was a massive effort, I'm really proud of him," said Biggar.

Anscombe replaced the injured Biggar in the 53rd minute.

The 31-year-old kicked a crucial penalty before being faced with the all-important conversion after Josh Adams scored the only try of the match two minutes from the end.

Biggar had to leave the field with a shoulder issue but said he hoped to be fit for the series decider in Cape Town next Saturday.

"I got a bit of a bang on it (the shoulder)," he said.

"Hopefully it will ease up in the next couple of days."

Biggar also praised replacement rookie prop Sam Wainwright for standing his ground in a fiercely-contested scrum as the Springboks pushed in the hope of winning a penalty in added time.

"It was just exceptional on debut," he said of Wainwright, a late call-up for the tour after Leon Brown withdrew injured.

Coach Wayne Pivac praised the resilience of his side.

"Things didn't go our way for a lot of the game," he said.

"We knew the South African team would play well and put us under pressure and that's the way the game turned out."

'Arm wrestle'

Pivac said his team played with more discipline than in their 32-29 defeat in the first Test in Pretoria last weekend, but had made errors in the first half.

"We turned over a bit of ball in the first half but tightened up in the second half and got into a bit of an arm wrestle, which is what we wanted."

Even so, South Africa led 12-3 with 14 minutes to go and Wales down to 14 men after replacement lock Alun Wyn Jones was yellow-carded.

"It was about getting some possession. We were able to get down there and had one crack and were able to get over the line," said Pivac.

Biggar said being part of the first Wales to beat the Boks on their own turf was special.

"There have been some really good Welsh teams that have come here and been sent packing," he said.

The Springboks made 14 changes to their starting team from the first Test but Kiwi Pivac said they still provided formidable opposition.

"There were a lot of changes but the players who got their opportunity played very well and put us under enormous pressure.

"It's a very strong Springbok squad and we know they'll probably be a lot stronger next week."

Debutant Springbok captain Handre Pollard said South Africa paid the penalty for not capitalising on their opportunities in the first half.

The Springboks dominated play in the first 40 minutes but the teams were level at 3-3 at the break.

"I thought the new guys stepped up and embraced the pressure," said Leicester Tigers-bound Pollard.

"Discipline cost us a little bit in the second half and not converting those opportunities in the first half was crucial.

"It's the smallest of margins, you've got to be up for 80 minutes. There are lots of lessons for us to learn. Next week will be a big challenge - we'll come out blazing."


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