South Africa v Wales: Wayne Pivac’s side aim to break Springboks perfect 10 record

South Africa v Wales: Wayne Pivac's side aim to break Springboks perfect 10 record

South African lock Krynauw Otto attempts to break through the Wales defence in 1998
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Date: Saturday, 2 July Kick-off:16:05 BST
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio Wales (incl Radio Wales Extra and 882 MW), Radio Cymru and BBC Sport Online, plus live text and match report on the BBC Sport website

Welsh rugby has a few frontiers left to conquer.

This includes winning the World Cup, celebrating a victory in New Zealand and achieving a solitary success against the Springboks in South Africa.

It has proved an imperfect 10 for Wales so far on their visits to face South Africa in the Rainbow Nation.

Ten international matches between 1964 and 2014. 10 defeats. In those games, South Africa have outscored Wales by 415-137 with an average scoreline of 41-14.

Wales have managed six wins out of 37 games between the two countries since the first match in 1906, with five of those wins in Cardiff and another in Washington DC in 2018.

But matches in South Africa have proved an unhappy hunting ground for Wales with Wayne Pivac’s side hoping to erase memories and create history.

Pretoria humiliation

South Africa’s opening two wins against Wales at home came 31 years apart with a 24-3 victory in Durban in 1964, followed by a 40-11 drubbing in Johannesburg in 1995.

That was the first international played in the professional era. It will be remembered for Springboks second row Kobus Wiese punching Derwyn Jones and not getting sent off while visiting hooker Garin Jenkins was shown a red card for striking Joost van der Westhuizen.

The opening Test of the 2022 series takes place at altitude in Pretoria with Wales enduring miserable times at Loftus Versfeld.

Three previous visits produced defeats to the tune of 96-13 (1998), 53-18 (2004) and 37-21 (2008).

The most infamous of course is the almost 100-point hammering of 24 years ago when a makeshift Wales side were humiliated.

South Africa coach Nick Mallett described his opponents as one of the worst teams in the world.

The 15-try humiliation was Wales’ heaviest ever defeat and the biggest suffered by a major nation.

Wales had toured without a large number of first-choice players who stayed at home because of injury.

Caretaker coach Dennis John had to do without 18 players who made themselves unavailable and a further seven were lost to injury on the tour.

Another heavy defeat followed six years later but Wales were far more competitive at the same ground 10 years later.

The 2008 World Rugby player of the year Shane Williams dazzled with a fine individual try in both matches of the Test series as he outshone Bryan Habana in his own backyard.

That was also the tour that Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards suggested converting Jamie Roberts from full-back to an inside centre. It proved a pivotal moment in the success of the Warren Gatland Wales era.

So close

Ken Owens scored Wales' third try against South Africa in the 31-30 defeat in 2014
Ken Owens scored Wales’ third try against South Africa in the 31-30 defeat in 2014

The closest Wales came to defeating a Springboks side on their own turf was the last occasion the two sides met in the country in June 2014.

After losing in Durban in the first Test, Wales were denied victory as the Springboks snatched a dramatic victory in an exhilarating second Test in Nelspruit.

Tries from Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert, who was almost unstoppable that day producing with one of the great Welsh wing performances, put dominant Wales in control.

Ill-discipline, with Luke Charteris and Dan Biggar yellow-carded, allowed South Africa back into the game through a penalty try and a Cornal Hendricks try.

Ken Owens’s try extended the lead but Willie Le Roux’s effort and a converted injury-time penalty try gave the Boks victory.

Referee Steve Walsh adjudged Liam Williams to have illegally shoulder-charged Hendricks into touch just short of the try-line.

Morne Steyn (who else?) chipped over the winning conversion in front of the posts.

Wales had not been behind in the game at the Mbombela Stadium until that moment. Sheer heartbreak.

Pivac’s charges will be hoping that is not the case again eight years on.

Wales past results against Springboks in South Africa

23 May 1964, South Africa 24-3 Wales, Kings Park, Durban.

2 September 1995, South Africa 40-11 Wales Ellis Park, Johannesburg

27 June 1998, South Africa 96-13 Wales, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.

8 June, 2002, South Africa 34-19 Wales, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

15 June, 2002, South Africa 19-8 Wales, Newlands, Cape Town

26 June, 2004, South Africa 53-18 Wales, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.

7 June, 2008, South Africa 43-17 Wales, Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein.

14 June, 2008, South Africa 37-21 Wales, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.

14 June, 2014, South Africa 38-16 Wales, Kings Park, Durban.

21 June 2014, South Africa 31-30 Wales, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit.

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