Wales 18-23 South Africa: Malcolm Marx try sets up Springboks victory

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Nick Tompkins (right), took Johnny Williams' place at the centre of this game

Autumn Nations Series: Wales v South Africa Wales (12) 18 Pens: Biggar 6 South Africa (9) 23 Try: Marx Pens: Pollard 4, Steyn, Jantes

In a thrilling contest at the Principality Stadium, South Africa defeated Wales to become world champions.

Wales held the lead for 73 minutes due to six Dan Biggar penalties, which gave Wales an advantage of 18-15.

Malcolm Marx's crucial attempt to replace hooker Malcolm Marx was the defining moment, and exemplifies the impact of South African forwards on the bench.

The Springboks won thanks to four penalties by Handre Pollard, kicks by Frans Steyn, and Elton Jantjies.

A controversial incident occurred in the second half when Wales replacement Liam Williams was not allowed to score a try by a pitch invader. The scores were at 15-15.

It was South Africa's first win in Cardiff in eight years against an impressive Wales team who were missing many internationals and bounced back after a loss against New Zealand of 54-16.

However, the Springboks' forward dominance was too much for Wales. They were unable to stop the visitors for long and were dependent on Ellis Jenkins' brilliant defensive performance.

Alun Wyn Jones' injuries and Ross Moriarty's against the All Blacks were added to the missing injured British and Irish Lions lists of Ken Owens and Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau as well as Leigh Halfpenny and George North.

South Africa was close to beating New Zealand, but scrum-half Faf de Klerk, flanker Pieter Steph du Toit, and wing Cheslinkolbe were injured.

Nights of sleeplessness

The fire alarms that went off at the Cardiff hotel's Cardiff city centre in the early hours of the morning disrupted the Springboks' preparations.

Wales started brighter with a fast opening that saw plenty of kicks in the wet conditions. Home wing Louis Rees Zamit was denied an early attempt after Siya Kolisi's good defense and Herschel Jantjies providing cover.

After the New Zealand loss, Rees-Zammit and Nick Tompkins were unable to attend the match due to World Rugby's international deadline, they were able to rejoin the side with fellow English-based backs Biggar & Nick Tompkins.

Two penalties were scored by Biggar and Pollard in the opening quarter. Wales played an aggressive game, but was punished for making poor kick-offs.

Flanker Jenkins was one of the three pack changes along with Rhys Carre, Will Rowlands and made his first significant contribution to the pack by making a fantastic turnover in his international return in Welsh 22.

This was his first appearance in Wales in nearly three years, against the opposition against which he sustained a serious knee injury in November 2018. He had to miss 26 months of play.

His trademark turnover was a catalyst to allow defence to shift to attack, with Biggar returning the lead with a third penalty.

After a long stoppage, referee Paul Williams had a lengthy conversation with Olly Hodges, television match official, about two incidents involving South African prop OxNche and Tompkins.

Williams ruled that the second obstruction incident was deserving of a yellow-card because of the number of offences. Biggar also got a fourth penalty.

After Rhys Carre, a Cardiff prop, had violated a driving line-out, the New Zealand official adjusted the numbers and sent Rhys to the sin-bin.

Pollard added a third penalty to bring the deficit down to 12-9 at halftime.

Springboks scrum strength

South Africa's scrum dominance in the second half was highlighted before they brought in their formidable front-row replacement trio, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch.

A brazen rip by Jenkins stopped a fierce attacking assault from South Africa that was inspired by replacement fullback Frans Steyn, and wing Makazole Makimpi.

Jesse Kriel collected Johnny McNicholl’s clearance kick, South Africa receiving a penalty. It was a momentum shift, with Biggar scoring his fifth kick and the hosts conceding a try.

Steyn kicked a long-range penalty attempt from five meters inside South Africa's 50 before the Springboks' set piece stranglehold continued with fresh legs and Pollard evened the scores.

Wales had their own reshuffle, with Liam Williams joining the team on the wing to replace Jonathan Davies. Josh Adams was slotted into the centre and Jenkins became the new skipper.

WillGriff John, Scarlets' prop, also won his first cap. This was before the bizarre incident that saw an intruder interrupting Liam Williams' try-scoring opportunity.

After the investigation, Wales were given a penalty. Biggar received his sixth penalty.

Mapimpi was able to score the opening try in the 69th minutes after receiving a pass from Eben Etzebeth.

Referee Williams ruled that South Africa was offside after the kick by replacement Cobus Reinach. The incident had been reviewed and the players did not retreat.

For the last 10 minutes, Gareth Anscombe from Wales was brought in for Biggar. However, South Africa began to dominate the aerial battle through Mapimpi.

Marx was not denied by a driving line-out to score an unconverted try, as South Africa led for 74 minutes.

Bradley Roberts, an Ulster hooker, made his Wales debut but was unable to stop South Africa's success. Jantjies won the match with the last kick.

Wales: McNicholl; Rees-Zammit, J Davies (capt), Tompkins, Adams; Biggar, T Williams; Carre, Elias, Francis, Rowlands, Beard, Jenkins, Basham, Wainwright.

Roberts for Elias (70), W Jones for Jenkins (42-45) For Carre (68), John (60), Carter for Jenkins (78), Carter for Jenkins (78), Carter for Jenkins (78), Carter for Jenkins (78), Carter for Jenkins (78), Carter for Jenkins 78; Carter for Jenkins 78; Carter for Jenkins 78; Carter for Jenkins 78; Carter for Jenkins 78; Carter for Jenkins 78.

Sin-bin: Carre (35)

South Africa: Willemse; Kriel, Am, de Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, H Jantjies; Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (capt), Smith, Vermeulen.

Alternatives: Marx for Mbonambi (45), Kitshoff to Nche (45), Koch For Nyakane (45) Mostert für de Jager (60), Wiese Für Kolisi (70), Reinach H Jantjies (53) E Jantjies Pollard (65), Steyn For Willemse (13)

Sin-bin: Nche (30)

Match officials

Referee: Paul Williams, NZR

Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (IRFU) & James Doleman (NZR)

TMO: Olly Hedge (IRFU).