Dan Biggar has hailed Wales’ “huge achievement” after his history-making team stunned world champions South Africa 13-12 in Bloemfontein. It was Wales’ first win against the Springboks on South African soil, ending a 58-year injury streak and coming on the 12th attempt.
After a harrowing three-point loss in the series opener last weekend, Wayne Pivac’s side got it right the second time around asking to set up a Cape Town decider next Saturday. . Josh Adams’ 78th-minute try was converted from the touchline by fellow substitute Gareth Anscombe, who replaced captain Biggar early in the second half as Wales leveled the series.
“We’ve earned the right to enjoy this win because it’s a huge achievement,” Biggar said. “There have been some very, very good teams from Wales who have come here and been sent packing. We’re a tight-knit group and everyone deserves a pat on the back.
“I mentioned before the game in my speech [to the players] that it was an easy job to be captain of this team because we have a great group of guys who will roll up their sleeves and work their socks off.
On Anscombe’s game-winning kick, Biggar added: “It was absolute character on his part. I thought he was excellent when he continued, and from the minute he left his boot he looked good, huge bottle from him and huge effort.
“I’m really happy for him because he’s had a tough couple of years with injury. I’m really proud of him, and of Sam Wainwright on his debut against a front row full of World Cup winners, it was outstanding on his part.
Biggar, who injured his shoulder, and winger Alex Cuthbert on his arm, left the action early as Wales dug deep to claim an unforgettable victory. “I’m in a bit of pain so we’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but the last two minutes have improved it a bit,” Biggar said. “I will be desperate to be involved next Saturday. Hopefully it’s just a bang and nothing more.
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber’s decision to make 14 changes backfired. He rested World Cup winners such as Siya Kolisi, Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe as Wales triumphed, with Biggar and Anscombe also drawing penalties. Handré Pollard picked up four penalties for South Africa.
Just over three months after losing at home to Italy, Wales stunned the world champions, with Pivac powering a historic triumph. The head coach, however, deflected the praise despite being one of Wales’ great coaching feats in any sport. “It’s not about individuals, and I certainly don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything more than anyone else in the group,” he said. .
“These boys play the game, we set them up and they come out and they went through some dark times in an 80 minute game. They did it and got out of a hole at 12-3 and got a result we’re all proud of. After last week, it feels very, very good, obviously. We went through the pain of losing a game in the last quarter, and today we turned it around and won it in the last quarter.
“Our discipline was much better in the pressure moments of the last quarter. Holding out in that last scrum was also a big moment. Young Sam Wainwright, on his debut, to come in and do such a good job, I’m very happy for him.
“We really wanted to make history last week, and not being able to do that was really frustrating. We took the feeling from last week into this week. I’m very happy.
“It will be a nice week because there is something about the game and in the past I don’t think there has been. There is a lot to look forward to.