Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - Page 18 News List

'Boks give departing coach more to smile about

AFP , CARDIFF

Jake White smiles during a lap of honor after his last international match as South Africa's coach in Cardiff on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Jake White's final Test as South Africa coach ended with a win as the world champions beat Wales 34-12 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

JP Pietersen, one of nine World Cup winners in the Springbok starting side, was in superb form, the wing scoring one of South Africa's five tries and setting up two for center Jaque Fourie.

The victory left White, after four years in charge, with a Test record of played 54, won 36, drawn one and lost 17.

"I'm obviously very relieved with a win," White said. "There's a relief that what we set out to do, we've achieved. This is by far the most successful year South Africa rugby has ever had."

"To win 14 out of 17 Tests in one year, I don't think it's ever been done before and to be the best team in the world, there is a sense of relief," he said.

Francois Steyn's penalty gave the Springboks an early lead before Schalk Burger scored a try with South Africa's first meaningful foray into the Welsh 22.

Then lock Johann Muller, in for World Cup winner Victor Matfield, won a lineout on half way and the ball was worked across to fly-half Andre Pretorius, whose pass released Smith for the second try in the 20th minute.

Pretorius converted and the Springboks were ahead 10-0.

Wales should have had their first points minutes later but James Hook put a seemingly straightforward penalty attempt wide of the left post, a miss compounded by Fourie's two tries either side of the half-hour mark.

With the final play of the first-half Wales at last scored some points as Charvis broke the record of Italy's Carlo Checchinato for the most Test tries by a forward with his 22nd touchdown in his 94th appearance.

Debutant Morgan Stoddart's clever kick ahead evaded the grasp of opposing full-back Ruan Pienaar and, from a ruck on the Springbok line Charvis plunged over for a try.

Hook's conversion, however, hit the left upright and South Africa were 22-5 ahead at half-time.

They extended their lead further six minutes into the second half when star wing Bryan Habana sprinted clear and drew Stoddart before sending in Pietersen with a perfectly-timed pass.

Wales saw Stoddart score a try after he collected Hook's chip kick into the corner but the Springboks hit back 13 minutes from time with a try from debutant Ryan Kankowski.

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