Boks edge Spain in Valladolid

South Africa just edged Spain 13-15 in a very close and exciting first game of their European tour

Published by John Birch, March 23rd, 2024

3 minute read

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Boks edge Spain in Valladolid

There was very little to choose between two very evenly teams in Valladolid today. While South Africa may have ad more of the power up front, for most of the game they made little progress against a very well organised Spanish defence that was always capable of breaking quickly.

As a result it too nearly half an hour before the scoreboard moved, and that thanks to a well taken penalty from Amalia Argudo which put Spain 3-0 ahead.

This seemed to break the deadlock a little and from the restart the 'Boks put Spain under real pressure. The visitors turned to their pack to find a way through and, after one maul was defended, Spain could not find no way to stop a second drive touched down by Lindelwa Gwala. And those were all of the first half scores that ended with South Africa leading 5-3.

Spain leapt out of the blocks at the start of the second half and a well taken try from Claudio Cano, after a series of pick and goes, putting Spain back in the lead by 8-5 after 46m.

A further 20m of deadlock followed before a Claudio Pena extended the Spanish lead, Spain just resisting a powerful  'Bok drive on a 5m scrum enough to sweep the ball wide, and Spain were 13-5 ahead after 66m.

But South Africa responded again, and again got their pack motoring with a maul which the referee ruled was illegally held up on the line. The penalty try and accompanying yellow card was a crucial call, and South Africa were one point behind.

Despite being a player down, Spain held on until the 76th minute, when they finally gave away a penalty which Jakkie Cilliers. converted, putting the visitors back in the lead 15-13.

From the restart Spain threw everything at the 'Boks and in the final minute won a penalty themselves, only for the kick to drift agonisingly wide. The ball was returned into the crowd and South Africa were the winners.