Thriller At RFK As Wales Beats Boks

Wales v South Africa Post-Game Interviews

Wales defeated South Africa 22-20 in front of a rain-soaked crowd of 21,357 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC in a one-off test kicking off the summer tours.

This was the fourth time in five matches that Wales has beaten the Springboks. The game was shown live on FloRugby and is available on-demand.

Thunderstorms were threatening all at in the DC area, but for the most part held off. The rain didn't, however, and helped make for a physical, defensive-minded game. Both teams had some youngsters on the pitch, and those young players were hoping to make an impression on their coaches. As a result, both put on plenty of defensive pressure, and it wasn't until about midway through the first half that anyone scored.

Wales was found guilty of diving in at the ruck, and Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies put the kick over from about 28 meters.

Wales answered at 30 minutes with some brilliant rugby. A towering high ball from flyhalf Gareth Ascombe put the 'Boks under pressure. Center Owen Watkin put in a good chase, and while the South Africans secured possession, there was some confusion at the base of the resulting ruck. The ball appeared out, and Welsh flanker and captain Ellis Jenkins alertly pounced on the ball and fed Ashleigh Parkes - just on the field as a sub for the injured Steff Evans. Parkes linked with No. 8 George Moriarty who juggled the ball before feeding Jenkins in support.

Jenkins found fullback Hallan Amons and he dummied before sliding over. Anscombe hit the touchline conversion, and suddenly Wales was in the lead 7-3.

Wales pressed their advantage. Anscombe beat several tacklers on a counter and flanker Seb Davies put in a big carry. Then scrumhalf Tomos Williams, on his debut, slid through a gap, was knocked down but not held, and got up long enough to dive over. Three minutes after the first try, Wales had its second and a 14-3 lead.

That's how the first half ended, with South Africa getting plenty of possession, but not really able to use it. But South Africa got seven points back after some good defensive pressure set up an interception from wing Travis Ismaiel, who was in next to the posts. It was Ismaiel's debut game for South Africa, and it was his birthday, too. Jantjies converted, and South Africa was back in the contest at 14-10.

Wales came back and got a penalty close to the South Africa line, and opted for the fairly easy three points to make it 17-10. South Africa had an excellent chance to score after that, and with a penalty advantage inside the Welsh 22, Jantjies lofted the ball high for a chase. Watkin was there and illegally knocked the ball dead. So there was a question right there if there might be a penalty try.

After help from the TMO, referee Matthew Carley adjudged Watkin to have committed a yellow card offense, but couldn't be sure that a try would have been scored because another Welsh defender was close.

So a yellow card for Watkin, but no penalty try. South Africa took the penalty, and opted for a scrum. Three times Wales was penalized for popping the scrum, but finally South Africa went wide and put wing Makazole Mapimpi over for a try in the corner, Jantjies converted and we had a tie ballgame.

The South African scrum put Wales under the cosh once more, and a penalty at the Wales 22 allowed sub Rob Du Preez to put it over for a 20-17 Springbok lead at 73 minutes.

That lead didn't last long, as De Preez had a clearance kick partially charged down by Williams, and while South Africa recovered the ball, the 'Boks were back up against their line. Du Preez might have been slow in getting that previous kick away, but he was certainly slow the second time. Williams raced in to block it, and sub forward Ryan Elias was right behind to fall on the ball for the 22-20 lead.

It was a difficult lesson for Du Preez on how much quicker and intense test rugby is, and it gave Wales the lead.

That'show it ended. South Africa had chance to come back, but knocked a wide pass on to end the game.

In the end, it was a very entertaining and intense game, and worth it for the fans who braved the rain to watch it.

Wales 22
Tries: Amons, Williams, Elias
Convs: Ascombe 2
Pens: Ascombe


South Africa 20
Tries: Ismaiel, Mapimpi
Convs: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies, Du Preez


Wales Starting Lineup: 15. Hallam Amos; 14. Tom Prydie, 13. George North, 12. Owen Watkin, 11. Steff Evans; 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Tomos Williams; 1. Nicky Smith, 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Dillon Lewis; 4. Cory Hill, 5. Bradley Davies; 6. Seb Davies, 7. Ellis Jenkins (capt), 8. Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: 16. Ryan Elias, 17. Wyn Jones, 18. Rhodri Jones, 19. Adam Beard, 20. Aaron Wainwright, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Rhys Patchell/Gareth Davies, 23. Hadleigh Parkes.


South Africa Starting Lineup: 15. Curwin Bosch; 14. Travis Ismaiel; 13. Jesse Kriel; 12. Andre Esterhuizen; 11. Makazole Mapimpi; 10. Elton Jantjies; 9. Ivan van Zyl; 8. Dan du Preez; 7. Oupa Mohoje; 6. Kwagga Smith; 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit; 4. Jason Jenkins; 3. Wilco Louw; 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle; 1. Ox Nche.

Replacements:  16. Akker van der Merwe; 17. Steven Kitshoff; 18. Thomas du Toit; 19. Marvin Orie; 20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe; 21. Embrose Papier; 22. Robert du Preez; 23. Warrick Gelant.


Old Glory Puts On A Show In Front Of Sellout Crowd

The long wait finally came to a close on Saturday, as Old Glory DC played its first match of 2020, a friendly against collegiate side Navy. 

Eddie Jones Picks His 34-Man England Side For Six Nations

Eight uncapped players have been called into Eddie Jones' England side for the 2020 Six Nations. 

Sabercats Fall To Tasman, But Show Encouraging Signs

The Houston Sabercats took part in their first preseason exhibition match on Saturday night against the Tasman Mako from New Zealand, falling in a close game 29-19. 

What's Next For Saracens Following Relegation?

Reigning Premiership and European champions Saracens will play in the second tier of English rugby next season, following their relegation from the top flight for salary cap breaches.

Champions Cup Quarterfinals Set

The Champions Cup field has been trimmed from 20 to 8 after this past weekend of action which saw Northampton, Ulster, and Saracens secure quarterfinal places with victories. 

New England Free Jacks Side For 1st Tune-up

The New England Free Jacks are one of three new teams set to make their mark on the MLR this year, and they'll get a chance to have their first preseason game this weekend against the New England Independents. 

Saracens Staring Automatic Relegation In The Face

Things could go from bad to worse for Saracens, who are now looking automatic relegation from the Gallagher Premiership squarely in the face.

Sexton To Captain 35-Man Ireland Team For Six Nations

Following the retirement of 124-cap captain Rory Best, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has chosen flyhalf Johnny Sexton as the new man for the job, beginning with this year's Six Nations. 

Old Glory D.C. Reveals Initial 36-Man MLR Roster

One of Major League Rugby's three new teams, Old Glory D.C., has announced to the public its initial 36-man squad for the upcoming season. 

Scotland's Townsend Names Six Nations Squad, Elects Hogg As Captain

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named his squad for the upcoming Six Nations, appointing 72-cap fullback Stuart Hogg as captain.