Wales condemn South Africa to worst ever year to end autumn series on a high
Wales 27 South Africa 13
Justin Tipuric capped an outstanding individual performance with a late try to give Wales a 27-13 victory over South Africa on Saturday and condemn the Springboks to their worst ever year.
Wales scored two tries and Leigh Halfpenny added 17 points with the boot to secure only the third Welsh win ever over South Africa in more than a century of tests.
Flanker Tipuric ran the perfect line to burst through the visitors' defence for a 77th-minute try just as South Africa were mounting a late bid to get back into the game.
Ken Owens scored Wales’s opening try while debutant loose forward Uzair Cassiem crossed the line late on for the beleaguered Springboks.
South Africa kicked the first penalty through Elton Jantjies after seven minutes but frequent infringements in the maul and lineout handed Wales a succession of penalties which Halfpenny successfully slotted to open up a 9-3 lead.
Jantjies and Halfpenny traded one more each to put the home 12-6 ahead at halftime.
Straight after the break, Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk was yellow-carded for knocking down a Dan Bigger pass and Halfpenny made it 15-6 from the resultant penalty.
The extra man advantage gave Wales the incentive to turn down another penalty attempt and go for touch instead, from which a driving maul set up Owens to claim the first try in the 46th minute.
South Africa’s reply came with 10 minutes left in similar circumstances – a penalty kick into touch and a lineout turned into a driving maul before the Boks drove over for a try from Cassiem to reduce the Welsh lead to 20-13.
But just when South Africa's attack looked to be sparking to life, Tipuric put the result beyond the toothless tourists with three minutes left.
Saturday’s success ensured a positive finish to the autumn internationals for Wales, whose performances had drawn much criticism even after beating Argentina and Japan.
It was only their third victory over the Boks in 32 meetings stretching back 110 years.
South Africa have now lost eight of 12 tests this year, including all three on their November European tour, deepening the crisis in the country's game a year after they finished third at the World Cup.