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1998 Wales rugby union tour of Africa
Coach(es)Dennis John
Tour captain(s)Rob Howley
06 01 00 05
Test match
02 01 00 01
1 1 0 0
 South Africa
1 0 0 1

The Wales national rugby union team toured southern Africa in June 1998, playing test matches against Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as tour matches against the Emerging Springboks and three of the South African provincial sides.

Wales head coach Kevin Bowring had resigned at the end of the 1998 Five Nations Championship, and with a replacement yet to be appointed, Dennis John was made caretaker coach ahead of the tour.[1] Prior to the tour, 18 players from Wales made themselves unavailable to participate, while a further 8 picked up injuries during the tour.[2]

Wales won their initial match against Zimbabwe in Harare, before moving on to the second leg of the tour in South Africa. Here they would play four tour matches against representative and provincial opposition and a test match against the Springboks. Wales lost all four of the tour matches, and then were defeated by South Africa in the test match. The final scoreline of 96–13 was the biggest defeat Wales had ever had,[3] and remains so as of 2024.


Pending the appointment of a replacement for coach Kevin Bowring, who resigned after the 1998 Five Nations Championship, Wales named Pontypridd's Dennis John as their interim coach for the tour of southern Africa. With 16 regular squad members unavailable due to injury, including fly-half Neil Jenkins and centre Scott Gibbs, they named a 30-man squad that included 10 uncapped players[4] A further seven players were injured during the tour, including captain Rob Howley; called up in their place were the likes of Ebbw Vale back rower Kingsley Jones – in what would turn out to be his final Wales call-up – and uncapped Llanelli fly-half Stephen Jones.

Name Position Club Notes
Garin Jenkins Hooker Swansea
Barry Williams Hooker Richmond
John Davies Prop Richmond
Ben Evans Prop Neath
Mike Griffiths Prop Pontypridd
Darren Morris Prop Neath
Paul Arnold Lock Swansea
Ian Gough Lock Newport
Andy Moore Lock Swansea
Chris Stephens Lock Bridgend Injury replacement for Mark Jones
Chris Wyatt Lock Llanelli
Rob Appleyard Back row Swansea Withdrew due to injury
Colin Charvis Back row Swansea
Kingsley Jones Back row Ebbw Vale Injury replacement for Rob Appleyard
Mark Jones Back row Ebbw Vale Withdrew due to injury
Geraint Lewis Back row Pontypridd Injury replacement for Scott Quinnell
Scott Quinnell Back row Richmond Withdrew due to injury
Dean Thomas Back row Swansea Injury replacement for Martyn Williams
Nathan Thomas Back row Bath
Martyn Williams Back row Pontypridd Withdrew due to injury
Rob Howley Scrum-half Cardiff Captain
Paul John Scrum-half Pontypridd
David Llewellyn Scrum-half Ebbw Vale Injury cover for Rob Howley
Stephen Jones Fly-half Llanelli Injury replacement for Wayne Proctor
Byron Hayward Fly-half Ebbw Vale
Arwel Thomas Fly-half Swansea
Leigh Davies Centre Cardiff
Geraint Evans Centre Neath Injury replacement for David Weatherley
John Funnell Centre Ebbw Vale
Mark Taylor Centre Swansea
Garan Evans Wing Llanelli
Dafydd James Wing Pontypridd
Wayne Proctor Wing Llanelli Withdrew due to injury
Richard Rees Wing Swansea
Lenny Woodard Wing Ebbw Vale
David Weatherley Full-back Swansea Withdrew due to injury
Darril Williams Full-back Llanelli


Scores and results list Wales's points tally first.

Opponent For Against Date Venue Status Reference
Zimbabwe 49 11 6 June 1998 Harare Test match [5]
Emerging Springboks 13 35 12 June 1998 Secunda Tour match
Border Bulldogs 8 24 16 June 1998 East London Tour match
Natal Sharks 23 30 19 June 1998 Durban Tour match [6]
Gauteng Falcons 37 39 23 June 1998 Vanderbijlpark Tour match [7]
South Africa 13 96 27 June 1998 Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria Test match [8]

Zimbabwe vs Wales

6 June 1998
Zimbabwe 11–49 Wales
Try: Bekker
Pen: Tsimba (2)
ReportTry: Hayward (3)
Rees (2)
A. Thomas (2)
Con: A. Thomas (3)
Pen: A. Thomas
National Sports Stadium, Harare
Attendance: 6,000
Referee: Johnnie Meuwesen (Namibia)
FB 15 Victor Olonga
RW 14 G. Campbell
OC 13 John Ewing
IC 12 Brendan French
LW 11 R. Karimazondo downward-facing red arrow 49'
FH 10 Kennedy Tsimba downward-facing red arrow 60'
SH 9 Ryan Bekker downward-facing red arrow 70'
N8 8 Brendon Dawson (c)
OF 7 Mordekai Mwerenga downward-facing red arrow 30'
BF 6 Leon Greeff
RL 5 Shaun Landman
LL 4 Brenton Catterall
TP 3 Graham Stewart
HK 2 Wayne Barratt downward-facing red arrow 72'
LP 1 Gary Snyder
FL C. McNab upward-facing green arrow 30'
WG Dave Walters upward-facing green arrow 49'
FB Doug Trivella upward-facing green arrow 60'
SH Neill Nortje upward-facing green arrow 70'
HK Ian Neilson upward-facing green arrow 72'
Zimbabwe Alex Nicholls
FB 15 David Weatherley downward-facing red arrow 31'
RW 14 Richard Rees
OC 13 Mark Taylor downward-facing red arrow 27'
IC 12 Dafydd James
LW 11 Wayne Proctor
FH 10 Arwel Thomas
SH 9 Rob Howley (c) downward-facing red arrow 78'
N8 8 Scott Quinnell downward-facing red arrow 56'
OF 7 Martyn Williams
BF 6 Nathan Thomas
RL 5 Andy Moore
LL 4 Mark Jones downward-facing red arrow 71'
TP 3 John Davies
HK 2 Garin Jenkins downward-facing red arrow 56'
LP 1 Darren Morris
CE 16 John Funnell upward-facing green arrow 27'
FB 17 Byron Hayward upward-facing green arrow 31'
SH 18 Paul John upward-facing green arrow 78'
HK 19 Barry Williams upward-facing green arrow 56'
PR 20 Mike Griffiths
LK 21 Chris Wyatt upward-facing green arrow 71'
FL 22 Colin Charvis upward-facing green arrow 56'
Wales Dennis John

Emerging Springboks vs Wales

12 June 1998
Emerging Springboks 35–13 Wales
Try: Daniels (3)
L. Venter
Con: Koen (2)
Pen: Koen (2)
Try: James
Con: Hayward
Pen: Hayward (2)
Secunda Stadium, Secunda
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (Natal)

Border Bulldogs vs Wales

16 June 1998
Border Bulldogs24–8 Wales
Try: Heidtmann
Van der Walt
Con: Bradbrook
Pen: Bradbrook (4)
Try: Rees
Pen: A. Thomas
Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London
Referee: Tappe Henning (Northern Transvaal)

Natal Sharks vs Wales

19 June 1998
Natal Sharks30–23 Wales
Try: Brink (3)
Con: Joubert (2)
Pen: Joubert (2)
Try: A. Thomas
Con: A. Thomas (2)
Pen: A. Thomas (3)
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Referee: André Watson (Eastern Transvaal)

Gauteng Falcons vs Wales

23 June 1998
Gauteng Falcons39–37 Wales
Try: Geyer (2)
Con: Van Straaten (2)
Van As
Pen: Van Straaten
Try: Funnell
Con: Hayward (4)
Pen: Hayward (3)
Isak Steyl Stadium, Vanderbijlpark
Referee: Carl Spannenberg (Western Province)

South Africa vs Wales

27 June 1998
South Africa 96–13 Wales
Try: Rossouw (3)
Montgomery (2)
Terblanche (2)
Venter (2)
Van der Westhuizen
Con: Montgomery (9)
Pen: Montgomery
ReportTry: A. Thomas
Con: A. Thomas
Pen: A. Thomas (2)
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Attendance: 33,633
Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)
FB 15 Percy Montgomery
RW 14 Stefan Terblanche downward-facing red arrow 47'
OC 13 André Snyman
IC 12 Pieter Muller downward-facing red arrow 40'
LW 11 Pieter Rossouw
FH 10 Franco Smith
SH 9 Joost van der Westhuizen downward-facing red arrow 45'
N8 8 André Venter
OF 7 Gary Teichmann downward-facing red arrow 58'
BF 6 Rassie Erasmus
RL 5 Mark Andrews downward-facing red arrow 55'
LL 4 Krynauw Otto
TP 3 Adrian Garvey downward-facing red arrow 66'
HK 2 James Dalton downward-facing red arrow 60'
LP 1 Robbi Kempson
WG 16 McNeil Hendricks upward-facing green arrow 47'
CE 17 Henry Honiball upward-facing green arrow 40'
SH 18 Werner Swanepoel upward-facing green arrow 45'
N8 19 Andrew Aitken upward-facing green arrow 58'
FL 20 Bobby Skinstad upward-facing green arrow 55'
PR 21 Ollie le Roux upward-facing green arrow 66'
HK 22 Naka Drotské upward-facing green arrow 60'
South Africa Nick Mallett
FB 15 Byron Hayward downward-facing red arrow 48'
RW 14 Dafydd James
OC 13 Mark Taylor
IC 12 John Funnell downward-facing red arrow 50'
LW 11 Garan Evans
FH 10 Arwel Thomas
SH 9 Paul John downward-facing red arrow 79'
N8 8 Kingsley Jones downward-facing red arrow 40'
OF 7 Colin Charvis downward-facing red arrow 73'
BF 6 Nathan Thomas
RL 5 Andy Moore
LL 4 Ian Gough
TP 3 John Davies downward-facing red arrow 60'
HK 2 Barry Williams downward-facing red arrow 66'
LP 1 Mike Griffiths
FB 16 Darril Williams upward-facing green arrow 48'
FH 17 Stephen Jones upward-facing green arrow 50'
SH 18 David Llewellyn upward-facing green arrow 79'
FL 19 Geraint Lewis upward-facing green arrow 73'
LK 20 Chris Wyatt upward-facing green arrow 40'
PR 21 Darren Morris upward-facing green arrow 60'
HK 22 Garin Jenkins upward-facing green arrow 66'
Wales Dennis John


  1. ^ Howell, Andy (20 June 2014). "'It was like a scene from the film, Zulu!' The inside story of South Africa 96-13 Wales...through the eyes of those who were there". Wales Online. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  2. ^ Orders, Mark (1 April 2020). "The day fuming Colin Charvis turned on his own Wales team-mates". Wales Online. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  3. ^ Godwin, Hugh (27 June 1998). "Rugby Union: Blackest day for the Welsh". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  4. ^ Hewett, Chris (21 May 1998). "Rugby Union: Wales call on John for the short term". The Independent. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  5. ^ Godwin, Hugh (6 June 1998). "Rugby Union: Hayward launches Wales' tour". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Rugby Union: Joubert has final word as Natal ease past Wales". The Independent. 19 June 1998. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Rugby Union: Thomas sent off as Wales succumb". The Independent. 23 June 1998. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  8. ^ Osterhuis, Mark (28 June 1998). "Rugby Union: Boks brand Wales as worst in history". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2020.