ESPN SCRUM

/ Wales

/ Reaction

South Africa 38-16 Wales, 1st Test
Gatland admits Springbok power won the day
ESPN Staff
June 15, 2014
South Africa's Francois Louw goes flying in on Wales' Matthew Morgan, South Africa v Wales, Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban, June 14, 2014
South Africa's Francois Louw goes flying in on Wales' Matthew Morgan © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has admitted his players were simply overpowered by South Africa as they were beaten 38-16 in Durban.

Welsh hopes of a first win over the Springboks on South African soil were all but over by the 21st minute and the third South African try, their second score while Wales centre Jamie Roberts was in the sin-bin for taking out Willie le Roux in the air.

South Africa wing Bryan Habana helped himself to a brace of tries, with Duane Vermeulen, Le Roux and debutant Cornal Hendricks also crossing the whitewash. Morne Steyn added 13 points with the boot as Wales were blown away by the rampant Springboks.

"All credit to South Africa," Gatland said. "I thought they physically dominated us in the first half and won the collisions. We just struggled a little with the pace and intensity.

"It probably didn't help having Jamie Roberts in the bin - we conceded 14 points while he was off - but I think the game had gone away from us at half time.

"We said at the break that we needed to be much more aggressive off the line defensively and I think it was a much better performance in the second half. Hopefully it will be good for us for next week."

But Gatland did rue his side's failure to score a try with less than a minute on the clock. Wales had cut South Africa apart only for the chance to disappear after Liam Williams fired the final pass behind wing Alex Cuthbert.

"We started really well and had a couple of good opportunities so to miss that chance was very disappointing. But that's rugby.

"South Africa scrambled well and they had big runners off their scrum-half and they dominated the collisions and made it tough for us to get on the front foot. It is something we need to work really hard on this week."

Gatland also paid tribute to the performance of Springbok fullback Le Roux, who provided a painful reminder of what Wales are missing in their injured No.15 Leigh Halfpenny.

"I thought we were very poor defending on the short side, Le Roux was an absolute pest in that respect," Gatland said. "He was outstanding and caused us a lot of trouble with chips over the top we did not handle. On that performance you would have to say he is one of the best full-backs in the world. He was absolutely superb."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Australian GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Golf - Africa Open
    Golf - WGC-Cadillac Championship
    Darts - UK Open finals
    Tennis - Davis Cup first round
    Boxing - Shayne Singleton v Sam Eggington; Luke Campbell v Gary Sykes
  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Rugby

    Meat leaves Honey Badger hungry for more

    Having "bagged a bit of meat" with just his second touch back in Super Rugby, Nick Cummins says he's keen to get himself placed in Michael Cheika's World Cup squad

  • Boxing

    Butler suffers knockout defeat to champion Tete

    Paul Butler failed his quest to become a two-weight world champion within a year after he suffered an eighth-round knockout at the hands of Zolani Tete on Friday

  • Golf

    Erratic McIlroy throws club into lake at Doral

    World No.1 Rory McIlroy apologised for throwing his three iron into a water hazard after more erratic play in the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Friday

  • Darts

    Defending champion Lewis among UK Open casualties

    Defending champion Adrian Lewis and PDC world champion Gary Anderson were both knocked out of the UK Open at the third round stage in Minehead on Friday

  • Rugby

    Glasgow sweep Zebre aside to go top

    Glasgow hammer bottom side Zebre to go top of the Guiness PRO12 as Cardiff Blues secure a last-gasp victory at home to Connacht in Friday's evening fixtures

  • Formula One

    Pointless drivers

    Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?

  • Formula 1

    'I'm more than just a pay driver' - Ericsson

    ESPN talks to Marcus Ericsson about the "pay driver" label, aiming for his first career points and what life was really like as a rookie during Caterham's chaotic final season

  • Football

    Ronaldo and co. fear nutmegs at Real Madrid, says Bale

    Gareth Bale says he has to be sharp in training or the other Real Madrid galacticos will quickly be on his case

  • Formula 1

    Grand Prix Trust: Taking care of the carers

    Amid the glitz and glamour of modern grand prix racing it can be all too easy to forget about the men and women that keep the wheels turning. The Grand Prix Trust makes sure that's not the case

  • Football

    Evans-Cisse spitting spat exposes football's glaring flaws

    A spitting contest. Just what football needs to improve its reputation. You can always rely on football to stoop that little bit lower than you expected. Papiss Cisse of Newcastle United and Jonny Evans of Manchester United, who later protested his innoce

  • News
  • Features
Sponsored Links
Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income