South Africa are still looking for the first win of the November tour after the A team was convincingly beaten by English Premiership outfit Bristol Bears on Thursday night.
Bristol, who were without no less than 16 players including Semi Radradra, Steven Luatua and AJ MacGinty, punished another disjointed performance from South Africa A to claim a 26-18 vctory at Ashton Gate.
Thursday night’s result has left South Africa, taking the Springboks’ losses into account, with a 0-4 record on tour ahead of the Test matches against Italy and England.
Despite a bright start to the match, the Bok dirt trackers struggled to contain the free-running Bears, who at times looked like they had the freedom of the park.
Very few of South Africa’s players showed they are capable of executing the Springbok game plan effectively and perhaps caught a wake-up call as to the realities of making the step up to Test rugby.
As an added concern, flyhalf Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu limped off in the second half. The DHL Stormers will be awaiting medical feedback as they prepare to head into a busy part of the season.
The overall flow of the game was stop-start. This was not helped by a lengthy review into a tackle by Jason Jenkins which saw the South African lock yellow-carded in the first half. Bristol took a 13-6 lead into the break, thanks to a well-taken try by former England U20 wing Gabriel Ibitoye.
After seeing off a late onslaught just before the break, the hosts took control of the second half. Prop Yann Thomas powered across the line, while flyhalf Callum Sheedy completed a flawless kicking performance by adding an extra two penalties.
Ntuthuko Mchunu showed fancy feet and a good turn of pace to burst over for South Africa’s first try of the match. Having made an excellent impact in the loss to Munster, livewire loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe scored his second try of the tour to narrow the deficit, but it was only to be a consolation for South Africa.
Photo: David Davies/PA Images/Getty Images