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Friday, December 3, 2021

Phillips scores hat-trick in Wales win

ART GALLERY

Carys Phillips celebrates one of her three tries with team mates
Wales: (17) 29
Tries: Phillips 3, F Lewis Pen: Snowsill Cons: Snowsill 3
South Africa: (0) 19
Tries: Mabenge, Zintle, Janse van Rensburg Cons: Jordaan 2

Carys Phillips celebrated her first international start in two years with a hat-trick in Wales’ victory over South Africa in the Cardiff sunshine.

The former captain was the beneficiary of a driving line-out in either half before touching down from close range to complete a fairytale afternoon.

Scrum-half Ffion Lewis also marked her return with a try.

South Africa finished with breakaway scores from Nomawethu Mabenge, Zintle Mpupha and Libbie Janse van Rensburg.

Wales started brightly, just like they did against Japan, and any concern about the power of the South African set piece was settled when Wales won a scrum penalty in the first five minutes.

Elinor Snowsill turned down an attempt at the posts and kicked for a five-metre line-out, which paid dividends as Wales drove over for Phillips to touch down.

The hooker’s try celebration summed up exactly what the shirt meant to her after two years in the international wilderness.

Wales played with energy in front of 1,500 fans in the Arms Park and soon won another scrum penalty, with South Africa guilty of illegally stripping the ball. The Welsh pack held firm, allowing Lewis to snipe around the back and dive over for a second score.

Wales extended their lead on half an hour with Snowsill slotting over a penalty in front of the posts.

South Africa, who were looking to bounce back after their 46-3 defeat to France, finished the half with a flurry as Lusanda Dumke made a clean 30-metre break.

But then came a lengthy stoppage as the TMO was brought in to check a flying clear-out by the Springboks captain Nolusindiso Booi on Courtney Keight, who had been called into the starting line-up in place of Lisa Neumann after she was not cleared by an head injury assessor.

After a five minute deliberation, the referee Clara Munarini was happy there had been no foul play and blew for the half-time whistle.

Wales dominated possession and territory in a largely one-sided half, but they and Ioan Cunningham would have been disappointed with the lack of composure in the South African 22, with at least four tries left out there in the first half.

Wales celebrate Ffion Lewis' try
Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap celebrates with try scorer Ffion Lewis

Frustration continued after the break as Wales once again coughed up possession while threatening the South African tryline.

But they could rely on their set-piece, as a five-metre line-out produced a repeat of the first try, with Phillips once again powering over.

South Africa hit straight back, and after winning a scrum in Wales’ 22, shipped the ball wide to Mabenge, who shrugged off some poor tackling to crash over in the corner.

Fly-half Zenay Jordaan, who missed the France game through illness, was on target with the touchline conversion.

Phillips could have made it a hat-trick shortly after the visitors were reduced to 14 players, as Unam Tose was sent to the sin bin for an illegal tackle, but the dart down the wing proved too far for the hooker as she was bundled into touch.

But she bagged the honour a short time later, touching down from close range after a spell of Welsh pressure on the South African tryline.

The visitors finished with a flourish and exposed Wales on the counter.

Exeter Chiefs centre Mpupha finishing a fine break under the posts, before Janse van Rensburg flew down the wing for the final play of the day.

Player of the match Carys Phillips told BBC Two Wales: “To be fair, it’s a hell of a feeling.

“It’s been a long two years and to come back to that intensity was tough, but fair play to the girls they put in a hell of a shift.

“South Africa are a tough team and we got the win in the end, so happy days.”

Wales: Terry; Keight, Jones, Lake, C Lewis; Snowsill, F Lewis; Pyrs, Phillips, Hale, John, G Evans, Butchers, B Lewis, Lillicrap (capt).

Replacements: Hope, Kelly, C Thomas, Rose, Crabb, Callender, Bevan, Wilkins, Webb.

South Africa: Webb; Mabenge, Mpupha, Qawe, Roos; Jordaan, Kinsey; Ngxingolo, Gwala, Latsha, Booi (capt), Mkhari, Dumke, Mcatshulwa, Solontsi.

Replacements: Botes, Ntoyanto, Nyoba, Makua, Jacobs, Tose, Janse van Rensburg, Namba.

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