Gatland relieved as Wales hold off Boks

Dec 2, 2017 - 6:20 PM Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted to feeling "a bit of relief" after his team made hard work of beating South Africa in Cardiff.

Gatland's men led by 18 points just before half-time, but needed a Leigh Halfpenny penalty 12 minutes from time to secure a 24-22 victory and third successive home win against the Springboks.

"I suppose there is a bit of relief," Gatland said.

"We started so well and looked comfortable, then the five minutes before half-time and five minutes after half-time weren't the best periods of the game for us.

"It was pretty nail-biting, but that is what Test match rugby is all about, and we came out on the right side of it."

Two tries by New Zealand-born debutant Hadleigh Parkes and a Scott Williams touchdown, plus three Halfpenny conversions, left Wales in total control as the interval approached.

But the Springboks hit back through tries from Warrick Gelant, Handre Pollard and Jesse Kriel, while Pollard added a penalty and two conversions.

It left Wales to reflect on a November series that saw losses to Australia and New Zealand, plus an ugly 13-6 victory against unfancied Georgia.

Parkes, who only competed a three-year residency qualification period hours before kick-off, became the first Wales player since wing George North seven years ago, also against South Africa, to score twice on debut.

"He did OK, yeah," Gatland added.

"I said to him to make the most of the opportunity, and he did that."

Source: AAP

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