South Africa continue excellent record against Wales
Last Updated: 12/11/13 5:01pm
South Africa outscored Wales by three tries to none to earn a 24-15 win in a ferocious opening game of their European tour.
Juan de Villiers and Bismarck du Plessis touched down to give the visitors a 17-6 lead after 17 minutes in Cardiff.
Skipper De Villiers finished off a flowing move started deep within his own half by Bryan Habana, while hooker Du Plessis drove his way over after a slick lineout involving No.8 Duane Vermuelen.
Wales had already lost centre Jonathan Davies and wing Liam Williams to injuries by that point and looked set for a long evening on an awful pitch at the Millennium Stadium against opponents they had beaten only once in 26 previous attempts.
But full-back Leigh Halfpenny's boot kept Wales in the game; four penalties before half-time and another in the 55th minute reduced the deficit to 17-15.
The contest continued to take its toll on both sides; Wales prop Adam Jones (calf) then his replacement Scott Andrews (neck) were both forced off, and South Africa lost fly-half Morne Steyn before half-time, although not until he had converted both tries and added a penalty.
South Africa's cause was also hampered by the sin-binning of flanker Francois Louw in the 35th minute for pushing his forearm into Wales hooker Richard Hibbard's face at a ruck.
Referee Alain Rolland, the official who sent off Wales skipper Sam Warburton during the 2011 World Cup semi-final, consulted his television match official Eric Gauzins before taking action.
Two more players - Wales prop Gethin Jenkins and his South African counterpart Coenie Oosthuizen - saw yellow after a series of collapsed scrums in the 57th minute.
That led to 10 minutes of uncontested scrums and, with both teams down to 14, South Africa scrum-half Fourie du Preez struck the decisive blow, crossing for his side's third try after his kick ahead was returned to him by centre Jaque Fourie, albeit from offside position.
Pat Lambie's successful conversion left Wales needing two tries and South Africa were able to stand firm in the closing 15 minutes to complete the result.
South Africa's tour continues next Sunday against Scotland at Murrayfield and concludes the following weekend with a trip to France.
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