By Jack Hoyle, Date:5/7/13

After a close fought game in which South Africa started the brighter of the two sides, it was Wales who eventually emerged victorious in the opening game of the Student World Cup following a 30-10 win in Batley.

Wales came in to the tournament full of confidence having won the Student Home Nations trophy less than a year ago and that form was evident as they put in a solid all round performance to beat South Africa.

It was South Africa who started brighter after Wales’s Callum Bennett dropped a high ball and Marco Marais pounced to drive into the corner to touch down for the first try which Jean Coetzer was unable to convert.

That was as good as it got for South Africa in the first half though as Wales stepped up their performance, scoring four unanswered tries. James Gahan scored two as the South Africa defence struggled with his pace with Yannic Parker and Joel Knight notching the others. Callum Bennett converted two making the half time score 20-4.

Wales picked up where they left of in the second half with a good string of passes down the line enabling Parker to score his second of the game early on.

South Africa were sparked into life a short while after, as Hein Pretorius made a 60 metre break down the pitch, escaping a number of tackles on the way and offloading to Jean Coetzer in support of him to touch down for South Africa’s second try of the game.

This excitement for South Africa was short-lived however, as Riaan Laidlaw was sin-binned for an illegal shoulder charge only a minute later. Despite being down to 12 men it was South Africa who proceeded to attack and the Wales defence was being put under serious pressure. Although, a lack of composure in the final 5 metres meant that South Africa could not find the breakthrough.

Wales had the final say though as Mike Ward made a break through the South African defence and was able to touch down under the sticks for Wales sixth try of the game, converted again by Bennett.

Wales Coach Clive Griffiths was happy with his team after the game.

“We showed some nice touches in the game and passed it around well,” he said.

“This performance was pleasing as it is the first time we have played in 12 months so we were understandably a little rusty.

“It’s good to have a game under your belt and we’ll do some training over the next couple of days to make sure our performance was better than this one, despite the good result.”

South Africa Team

Starting: 1. Allan Kasselman (Captain) 3. Hein Pretorius 4. Jean Coetzer 5. Marco Marais 7. Hans Du Plessis 8. Shaune Brouwer 9. Andre Loader 10. Christo Louw 11. Ian Van Deventer 12. Gerhard De Wet 13. Neels Venter 15. Jean-Pierre Nel (Vice Captain) 17. Carel Van Lill

Interchange: 14. Jean-Di Oosthuysen 16. Rudolf Prinsloo 19. Johan Harmse 21. Riaan Laidlaw

Tries: Marais, Coetzer
Conversion: Coetzer

Wales Team

Starting: 2. Christian Roets 4. Yannic Parker 5. James Gahan 6. Jacob Morgan 7. Scott Amber 8. Isaak Duffy 9. Owain Griffiths 10. Callum Wilkinson 11. Mike Ward 13. Osian Phillips 17. Tom Hughes 18. Joel Knight 22. Callum Bennett

Interchange: 14. Louis Singleton 15. Harrison Elliot 19. Matthew Wilcox 20. Victor Coker

Tries: Gahan (2), Parker (2), Knight, Ward
Conversions: Bennett (3)

Referee: Tom Grant

Man of the Match: James Gahan (Wales)