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South Africa in Europe / Reaction
Wales 15 - 20 South Africa
Powell rues slow start
PA Sport
November 8, 2008
Andy Powell of Wales passes the ball during the Invesco Perpetual Series match between Wales and South Africa at the Millenium Stadium on November 8, 2008 in Cardiff, Wales.
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Wales number eight Andy Powell landed the man-of-the-match award on his debut in the defeat to South Africa but was left with regrets from the match.

The Cardiff Blues player had to wait for his chance with the national team, but on his first appearance, Warren Gatland's side came close to a famous comeback victory. They could not find a late try to pinch a win, losing 20-15 having at one stage trailed 20-3.

Powell said: ``We gave South Africa an early lead by giving stupid penalties away but we came back hard in the second half and left it too late really.''

Wales piled on the pressure late on but were thwarted as they pushed to win the year's first autumn international at the Millennium Stadium.

``South Africa have got great defence and a big pack,'' Powell said on BBC1. "We broke them a few times but weren't clinical enough with the pass.''

Of his debut, Powell said: ``It's every Welshman's dream to put that red shirt on. "To put it on today was a massive thing in my life.''

With Australia and New Zealand - plus Canada - to come later this month in Cardiff, Powell insists Wales are in shape to challenge the southern hemisphere rugby giants. "We're not too far away at all,'' he said.

South Africa captain John Smit admitted his team had given a faltering performance in the closing stages.

He said: ``We knew it was going to be a tough game. We're happy with the result, it's good to get a win on the board.''

The Springboks seemed to lose their drive in the closing stages, and Smit said: "It was a most frustrating mistake. We were waiting for the game to finish with 15 minutes to go. We made it more difficult for ourselves than we probably should have.''

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