There were way too many Chiefs and too few Indians in the Springboks’ 20-11 defeat to Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

And here coach Rassie Erasmus and captain Siya Kolisi must take a good hard look in the mirror.

It looked like No.8 Duane Vermeulen called the shots on the field against Wales – at one point he had on an earpiece and gave the thumbs-up to whatever it was he was listening to and on another occasion discussed their options from a penalty in front of the sticks with flyhalf Handre Pollard before talking to Kolisi. 

Still, it was Kolisi who had the big “C” next to his name and ran out first at the start of the match in Cardiff. 

The lack of direction was further evident in the Boks’ defence and virtually in all other aspects of the game. 

Their defence pattern needs some serious work as well. 

After starting out the game with a lot of promise of using the width on the field, following a Cheslin Kolbe run down the right, Pieter-Steph du Toit thought he had scored down the left touchline. 

The TMO rightly ruled that Du Toit’s foot was in touch and the try didn’t stand. Excitement, though, was built with that move. 

SILENT LEADER: Duane Vermeulen, centre, called the shots. Photo: ANDREW BOYERS/ REUTERS

But the Bok fans’ bubble was burst shortly afterwards when outside centre Jesse Kriel shot in on defence to cut down a possible Wales pass out wide. 

The Welsh reacted and Dan Lydiate sold Malcolm Marx the easiest of dummies before putting prop Tomas Francis in the gap for the first score (7-0).

Then in the 16th minutes, it was wing Aphiwe Dyantyi’s turn to shoot out of line and rush in to create space on the outside from an attacking Welsh scrum. 

Realising there were no drift defenders, Wales flyhalf Gareth Anscombe floated a long pass to Liam Williams, who dotted down in the corner.

It was 14-0 and the Boks needed their leaders and a new plan from their coach to fight back. 

They finally opened their account in the 19th minute with a Pollard penalty. 

And after Kriel was held up in-goal on the stroke of half-time, the Boks then had a penalty to close the gap but instead of taking the three points on offer, they opted for a scrum. 

It amounted to nothing – 14-3 at the break. 

Finally, after taking the ball through nine phases in the 55th minute, Willie le Roux showed some quick hands to give Kriel a try in the corner. The Boks were back in the game at 14-8. 

And when replacement flyhalf Elton Jantjies converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute, a dramatic comeback was on the cards. 

But two Dan Biggar penalties made it 20-11 and brought down the curtain on a Bok year that will have a lot of South African rugby fans worried ahead of next year’s World Cup in Japan. 

Wales – Tries: Tomas Francis and Liam Williams; Conversions:  Gareth Anscombe (2); Penalties: Dan Biggar (2). 

South Africa – Try: Jesse Kriel; Penalties: Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies. 

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