It was a day of spilled chances and spurned opportunities for Wales on day one of the South African Sevens tournament.
It was a day of spilled chances and spurned opportunities for Wales on day one of the South African Sevens tournament. Wales lost all three their games in pool D of the competition, being played at the picturesque Outeniqua Park in George and will have to contest the Bowl competition tomorrow. They face Zimbabwe in the opening game of the bottom section of the competition.
Wales started badly; losing 31-5 against a strong Samoa outfit and did very few things right in that match.
A splendid try by James Lewis, after some fluent passing by his inside backs, showed a glimpse of what the side is capable of, but for the rest of the match, poor handling gifted the Samoans a bunch of tries.
"Yes, we were never in the game, to be honest. We just did everything wrong," coach Paul John admitted afterwards.
In their second match, Wales, sporting their yellow jerseys, played much better against the highly fancied Kenya.
Good defence held the Africans at bay for long periods, but the second seeds in the pool still managed to score first.
Two tries before the break had Wales 12-5 up at the interval.
Wales were awarded a penalty try when Rhodri McAtee was held up when in a try scoring position and Jason Tovey duly converted.
Their second came after splendid work by Dafydd Hewitt. He monstered a Kenyan in a tackle and from the resulting turnover David Evans scored a great try.
Kenya scored early in the second half when McAtee fell off a tackle to allow the Africans to draw even. A late Kenyan try, after some good interplay bluffed the Welsh defense, secured a 19-12 win.
Their last pool game, against the undefeated Portugal, resulted in the best match of the day.
Portugal scored early for a 5-0 lead, before Wales scored the try of the day. Started in their own 25 by Jimmy Norris, Craig Hill's score put his side in the lead.
That was extended after a great run by Chris Davies left two defenders in his wake and Wales were 10-5 up at the break.
A great dummy sold by James Merriman gave Wales their third try just after the break, but then Portugal, who earlier beat both Samoa and Kenya, started their comeback.
Weak tackling allowed the Portuguese to score and with 28 seconds remaining on the clock, they scored again to beat Wales 19-17.
"We had our chances against Portugal and Kenya, but did not take them," John said afterwards.
"It is very frustrating. We created the try scoring opportunities, but did not execute. And in those final minutes against Portugal, we lost our heads a bit and that allowed them back in the game. We will have to do better tomorrow," John said.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series