Wales relieve Gatland pressure with South Africa win

WALES ENDED A six-year wait for a southern hemisphere scalp when they beat South Africa 12-6 in a war of attrition this afternoon to ease the pressure on under-fire coach Warren Gatland.

Four Leigh Halfpenny penalties were enough to get past Pat Lambie’s brace in a try-less, tense match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Under Gatland, Wales had previously only ever beaten Australia (21-18, in November 2008) from the SANZAR trio also including the Springboks and All Blacks in 27 matches since he took charge in 2007.

The victory in Cardiff was also only Wales’ second ever over South Africa in 30 matches, the first coming in 1999, with one match drawn in 1970.

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It rounded off an autumn series for Wales that featured defeats by Australia (33-28) and New Zealand (34-16) sandwiching a narrow win over Fiji (17-13).

Wales fly-half and man-of-the-match Dan Biggar said the win “means everything”.

“All the narrow defeats we’ve had, and this makes it worth it,” he told BBC. “We always seem to do it the hard way. Yes, we had doubts.

“We’ve thrown it away so many times in the past, but we got there today and this could really help us move forward. Great relief.”

The defeat left the Springboks, the sole team to have inflicted a loss on New Zealand this year, with a November record of two wins (England, 31-28; Italy, 22-6) and two losses, having also gone down 29-15 to Ireland.

 © AFP 2014

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