Josh Adams makes history for Wales as late try sets up first win in South Africa
Dan Biggar hailed Wales’s “huge achievement” after his team of history-makers stunned the world champions, South Africa, 13-12 in Bloemfontein. It was Wales’s first win against the Springboks on South African soil, ending 58 years of hurt and arriving at the 12th attempt.
After an agonising three-point defeat in last weekend’s series opener, Wayne Pivac’s team made no mistake at the second time of asking to set up a Cape Town decider next Saturday. Josh Adams’s 78th-minute try was converted from the touchline by his fellow replacement Gareth Anscombe, who went on for Biggar, the captain, early in the second half as Wales levelled the series.
“We have earned the right to enjoy this victory because it is a huge achievement,” Biggar said. “There have been some very, very good Wales teams to have come here and been sent packing. We are a really tight-knit group, and everyone deserves a pat on the back.
“I mentioned before the game in my speech [to the players] that it was an easy job to be captain of this team because we have got a great group of guys who will roll their sleeves up and work their socks off.”
On Anscombe’s match-winning kick, Biggar added: “It was absolute character from him. I thought he was excellent when he went on, and from the minute it left his boot it looked good, so huge bottle from him and a huge effort.
“I am really pleased for him because he has had a difficult couple of years with injury. I am really proud of him, and Sam Wainwright on debut against a front row full of World Cup winners, it was exceptional from him.”
Biggar, who hurt his shoulder, and the wing Alex Cuthbert his arm, departed the action early as Wales dug deep to claim an unforgettable win. “I am a bit sore so we will see how it pulls up tomorrow, but the last two minutes made it a little bit better,” Biggar said. “I will be desperate to be involved next Saturday. Hopefully, it is just a bang and nothing more.”
The decision by South Africa’s head coach, Jacques Nienaber, to make 14 changes backfired. He rested World Cup winners such as Siya Kolisi, Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe as Wales triumphed, with Biggar and Anscombe also kicking penalties. Handré Pollard landed four penalties for South Africa.
Just over three months after losing at home to Italy, Wales stunned the world champions, with Pivac masterminding a landmark triumph. The head coach, though, deflected praise despite one of the great Wales coaching feats in any sport. “It is not about individuals, and I certainly don’t feel as though I have achieved anything more than anyone else in the group,” he said.
“These boys play the game, we prepare them and they go out there and they have got through some dark times in an 80-minute game. They did it and dug themselves out of a hole at 12-3 down and got a result we are all proud of. After last week, it feels very, very good, obviously. We went through the pain of losing a game in the last quarter, and today we have turned the game around and won it in the last quarter.
“Our discipline was a lot better in the pressure moments in the final quarter. To hold out in that last scrum was a big moment as well. Young Sam Wainwright, on his debut, to go in and do such a good job, I am very pleased for him.
“We really wanted to create the history last week, and to not be able to do that was really frustrating. We took the feeling of last week into this week. I am very happy.
“It will be an enjoyable week because there is something on the game and, in the past, I don’t think there has been. There is a lot to look forward to.”