South Africa 38 - 16 Wales

Match info: International at

Date: 14/06/2014 KO: 16:00

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

South Africa

TriesHabana (7, 21) Vermeulen (17) Le Roux (38) Hendricks (52)ConversionsSteyn (7, 17, 21, 38, 52)PenaltiesSteyn (45)

38
vs
16

Wales

TriesCuthbert (69)ConversionsHook (69)PenaltiesBiggar (40)Drop GoalsBiggar (3, 20)

FT (ht: 28-9)

  • Last Updated: June 13 2014, 9:42 BST

Searching once again for a win over a SANZAR giant, Wales travel to Durban to take on the might of the Springboks this Saturday.

Meeting again: Phillips & Habana
Meeting again: Phillips & Habana

Searching once again for a win over a SANZAR giant, Wales travel to Durban to take on the might of the Springboks this Saturday.

They would do well to take a note out of England's book after their performance in Auckland last weekend.

Sure, England lost against a New Zealand side on a bad, bad day, but they made sure that 95 percent of what they produced - from the scrum to the lineout to their handling - was spot on.

But the spirit and ambition was admirable. It would be easy for Wales psychologically to believe after so many grimaces following this fixture in recent times that beating South Africa is a step too far. For the most successful European side since the last Rugby World Cup, that's unacceptable.

Wales' record too against the Southern Hemisphere sides in general is unacceptable. It has hung around their neck for so long, but is worth reiterating. Nothing against Australia since 2008. No success against South Africa since 1999. A long dismal run against the All Blacks since 1953.

A victory on this tour doesn't feel likely down to the number of absentees. Leigh Halfpenny, Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric are all key figures who bring their own individual skill sets to Warren Gatland's side.

Being without Halfpenny doesn't just deprive Wales of a talented goalkicker, but a major attacking threat who is robust under the high ball and possesses superb vision. He wasn't the Lions Player of the Series for nothing.

Warburton's injury record is becoming a great concern ahead of the next World Cup, but the Lions skipper's influence is undeniable. He too will be missed.

They have able replacements in Liam Williams and Aaron Shingler, but not of the same quality. Williams' disciplinary record is far from excellent and his aggression can go two ways against the Boks - Wales do not need to be spending portions of the match with 14 men.

This year's Six Nations according to many marked the death of 'Warrenball', with the losses to Ireland and England confirming that Wales had finally been caught out. Even the hammering of 14-man Scotland back in Cardiff couldn't truly mask the concern.

This is the first chance to see if Gatland has decided to tweak the system, fortunate enough to pick from a squad who except for George North are well rested from their lack of action in the playoffs. Whether having Romain Poite officiating in the middle hands Wales an advantage remains to be seen.

Wales' key cogs are all available for action - their experience at the set-piece will be essential against a vintage Springbok pack.

Sometimes however the best teams are unstoppable. Think back to November last year and the try from Jean de Villiers (who will miss Saturday and the series with a knee injury.)

The speed of Bryan Habana escaping the clutches of George North, followed by the power of Bismarck du Plessis as he clattered through Liam Williams before finding his captain for the score. Some tries are undefendable - and South Africa produce them time and again.

They do not lack for experience. There are 707 caps in total throughout the side, with Victor Matfield winning his 111th to tie John Smit's record. Their bench is outstanding, featuring Schalk Brits, Tendai Mtawarira, Schalk Burger and Ruan Pienaar along with the talented pair of Johan Goosen and Lwazi Mvovo.

New Zealand's unbeaten record in 2013 naturally overshadowed a good year for South Africa, but their performances shouldn't be forgotten.

They matched New Zealand stride for stride in that humdinger at Ellis Park, arguably peaking earlier with the 38-12 thrashing of Ewen McKenzie's disjointed Wallabies in Brisbane.

The Springboks will field two new caps however in Durban. Cornal Hendricks, the former Sevens speedster, makes his Test debut. What he has shown in Super Rugby with the Cheetahs is that given the opportunity, he is ready to pounce. His uncapped team-mate, Lood de Jager, is a replacement.

Scrum dominance for the Springboks is perhaps to be expected after Gethin Jenkins' struggles in the Six Nations to stay on the right side of the officials, something that Jannie du Plessis will have taken note of.

But it's the return of Bakkies Botha and Matfield that truly fires up South African excitement. Two top competitors who have seen it all but still deliver. The roar for Botha's try last week against the World XV could be heard around the Western Cape.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.

Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Paul James, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 James Hook, 23 Matthew Morgan.

Date: Saturday, June 14
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17:05 (local, 15:05 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)