VIDEO: Biggar talks frankly about THAT match-losing penalty
REACTION: Wales captain Dan Biggar has promised South Africa his team will produce a “better” performance in Bloemfontein next Saturday.
Biggar said the tourists have to look at themselves for ‘gifting’ South Africa the chance to steal a late win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Biggar also found room to praise his team for a ‘top-class effort’, but admitted discipline was an issue in their heartbreaking 29-32 loss to South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday.
Wales led 18-3 at half-time, after a clinical first-half display in the first of three Tests.
However, the World Cup champion Boks mounted a stirring comeback to win through an added-time Damian Willemse penalty.
Even though he said some of the 15 penalties may have been “a bit harsh”, Biggar admitted it was a “missed opportunity” by the tourists to get their first-ever win over the Springboks on South African soil.
The Springboks trailed from the third to 74th minutes before a penalty try, awarded for collapsing a driving maul, gave the hosts a 29-24 advantage.
Wales, with only 13 men on the field due to yellow cards, levelled through a Dewi Lake try before Willemse snatched victory in the 83rd minute.
Biggar was among those guilty of ill-discipline as he was yellow-carded late in the first half and his deliberate knock-on allowed Willemse to win a thriller.
It was a sad climax for Wales, who had hoped to end a 10-match losing streak in the republic since first touring South Africa in 1964.
“I thought the penalty at the end was a little bit harsh,” Biggar told a post-match media briefing.
“The ball has just hit my hand, as opposed to me slapping it down. It’s the way it is.
“I don’t think anybody would have predicted the game would have worked out like that at midday today,” he said of Saturday’s result.
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“The last thing I want to do is to come into a press conference and be brave losers.
“It was a definite missed opportunity.
“I’m incredibly proud of the team – it was a huge effort from minute one.
“Just a couple of key moments in the second half cost us. We put ourselves under pressure.
“We conceded a lot of penalties in the second half which gave away territory and invited their driving maul inside our 22, which is very difficult to stop.
“I’m really proud of the effort, but obviously it was a missed opportunity. We gave away some easy penalties, although we felt some were a little harsh.”
Wales prop Tomas Francis, meanwhile, looks set to miss the second encounter after leaving the field on a stretcher cart following a blow to his head in a tackle.
Wales coach Wayne Pivac added: “He is OK in the changing room. He will go through the normal protocols.
“I would think he will definitely be out of the second Test, and we will have to wait and see whether or not he is available for the third.”
Pivac added that “it was a shame” the Boks got away with the win, because they would have accepted a draw.
“It was a big step up from our last performance but the discipline is clearly disappointing,” the coach said.
“I’m very proud but very disappointed, it is one that got away.”
* Additional reporting by AFP & PA