Subs Adams, Anscombe combine to give Wales historic Springboks win

·3-min read

Replacements Josh Adams and Gareth Anscombe combined to give Wales a series-levelling 13-12 Test win over South Africa on Saturday -- their first success against the Springboks in the republic after 58 years of trying.

Winger Adams dived over in the corner on 78 minutes for the only try of an error-strewn match and Anscombe converted from the touchline to snatch a dramatic victory in Bloemfontein.

A South Africa team showing 14 changes after a last-gasp win in Pretoria last weekend led 12-3 midway through the second half thanks to four penalties from debutant captain Handre Pollard.

Anscombe, who replaced injured skipper and fly-half Dan Biggar, reduced the gap to six points with a penalty before Welsh pressure paid off to set up a series-deciding third Test in Cape Town next Saturday.

"After last week, we spoke about the disappointment and hurt and we said you can bottle hurt and disappointment," Adams told Sky Sports.

"You bottle that up as a team and you can use that effectively and I think it showed the character of the team, the way we came back.

"It was a bit of a slump there. We were 12-6 down and we've come back and won it. I think it speaks volumes for the team.

"South Africa's defence is renowned for being a strong one. And so it is. It takes a lot of effort and time to break a defence like that down. The try at the end was taken excellently by the team.

"(The Anscombe conversion) was a very special moment. I'm absolutely chuffed for him especially after he missed the birth of his second child and his son. I'm super happy for him."

Wales had lost 11 previous Tests in South Africa against the Boks since 1964, including two in Bloemfontein.

Success for Wales continued a great day for northern hemisphere nations after Ireland triumphed for the first time in New Zealand and England won in Australia.

- Biggar strikes early -

Wales went in front within two minutes when Biggar kicked a close-range penalty goal after flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit had been penalised for going off his feet at a ruck.

But the advantage lasted just four minutes before rival captain and playmaker Pollard levelled from an equally simple penalty kick.

A second penalty from Biggar, which was more challenging than the first, veered just right of the post in front of a capacity 46,000 crowd at Toyota Stadium in the central city.

Alex Cuthbert, recalled to Wales' starting line-up in the only change to the team beaten 32-29 in Pretoria last weekend, was forced to leave the field injured with less than a quarter of the match completed.

Adams, who had made way for Cuthbert, came on for the tourists, who almost immediately conceded a penalty that Pollard failed to convert.

The scrums were a problem area with Australian referee Angus Gardner awarding numerous penalties or free kicks to both sides for various offences.

While South Africa had the territorial edge in the opening half, their attacks lack creativity and were comfortably contained.

Wales were superior in box kicking with most of them contestable while some from South Africa were overhit, resulting in possession being cheaply surrendered.

An arm-wrestle first half full of energy and unforced errors ended 3-3 and South Africa made their first changes during the break with hooker Malcom Marx and prop Vincent Koch coming into the front row.

South Africa dominated much of the second half and the three Pollard penalties put them in a strong position to clinch the series.

Wales replacement lock Alun Wyn Jones was yellow-carded for the second successive weekend just after coming on, but it did not prove costly as both side scored three points while he was sidelined.

But as the match entered the closing stages Wales gained the ascendancy and, after several attempts to score a pushover try failed, a long pass from Anscombe to Adams set up the historic victory.


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