Wales tour gets off to a winning start
June 10, 2014
Wales ran in five tries
© Getty Images
Wales got their tour of South Africa off to a winning start with a five-try 34-12 success against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Although not entirely convincing, it was a straightforward night's work for the tourists as Josh Turnbull, Cory Allen, James Hook, Alex Cuthbert and Gareth Davies all scored tries, with Hook adding another nine points with the boot.
Siviwe Soyizwapi and replacement prop Simon Kerrod crossed for the hosts, with fly-half George Whitehead adding a solitary conversion.
Wales can now go into Saturday's first Test against South Africa buoyed by a good victory and several encouraging performances from their younger players such as No.8 Dan Baker, scrum-half Rhodri Williams and full-back Matthew Morgan.
Wales could even afford to do without star wing George North, who had been named on the bench but was left at the team hotel as a precaution due to a slight virus. However, it is not expected to keep North out of the showdown in Durban.
Wales were in the ascendancy from the off and were denied a quick try when centre Allen was guilty of a double movement, but did not have to wait long for their score. A well-constructed driving maul rumbled fully 15 metres for Turnbull to dot down, with Hook converting.
Allen made up for his earlier offence by claiming the second, benefiting from good work by Hook and Baker to cross by the posts.
The Kings, still in pre-season mode ahead of their Currie Cup campaign, looked all at sea but responded strongly with an extended period of pressure in the Welsh 22, which led to prop Rhodri Jones seeing yellow for slowing down ruck ball.
They thought they had got their first try of the night when Scott van Breda skated over in the corner, but it was correctly ruled out for a huge forward pass from Shane Gates. Kevin Luiters was then denied by a terrific cover tackle from opposite number Williams as Wales struggled to lift the siege.
However, once restored to 15, Wales - with Morgan producing some thrilling surges from full-back - resumed control. Hook slotted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to extend their lead but the build-up was marred by an injury to Kings tighthead Charl du Plessis, who was stretchered off after staying down when a scrum collapsed.
Wales moved out of sight within six minutes of the restart. First, Hook capitalised on a lovely chip from Steven Shingler to step the cover and cross, with Cuthbert then finishing off a flowing move sparked by a Williams break seconds later.
Hook failed to convert the latter score to leave matters at 29-0 before the Kings got on the board with Soyizwapi's try, which was greeted with delight by the small but vocal home fans.
In truth the try should not have stood as flanker Stefen Willemse's illegal clean-out on Wales replacement Aaron Jarvis went unpunished by television match official Jason Jaftha.
Jaftha was busy again on the hour, correctly ruling out a Davies try for a forward pass by Aaron Shingler. However, Davies was not to be denied and scooted over thanks to another lovely offload from Baker, before Kerrod's consolation.
Cory Allen made up for an early offence by claiming the second try © Getty Images
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