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Rugby World Cup: South Africa make semis after tough Wales test

| 18.10.2015

Steph Mallinson | October 17, 2015

South Africa 23-19 Wales

Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final
Saturday, October 17th
Twickenham Stadium, London
South Africa to play New Zealand in semis

Wales pushed with everything they had but fall short in the final moments

Britain Rugby WCup South Africa Wales

Coming into this game, it was expected to be a hearty-contested match, and neither side disappointed.

With South Africa (4/1 Rugby World Cup chances with Coral) having increased pressure from the Japan loss and having to come back from that defeat, Wales were determined to take advantage.

They did so straight from the whistle with a close miss from the try line after a run by George North, but Wales started to concede penalties from there.

Having a lack of composure in the first half allowed the points to build for South Africa. But with Wales’ defensive line absolute until the last five minutes, they were determined not to let the Springboks through. Dan Lydiate had a massive 21 tackles, missing only one before coming off late in the second half.

Davies gets early Wales try

A fantastic kick by Dan Biggar allowed a quick chase made for the only try for Wales by Gareth Davies.

Britain Rugby WCup South Africa Wales

Wales showed a titanium defence (making an impressive 189 match tackles), right up until the final minutes.

With a scrum deep in the Welsh half, Alex Cuthbert sprung forward to defend leaving a gap to allow South Africa captain Fourie du Preez to get over the try line.

After a missed conversion Wales were still in the game, but being so deep in their own half and with two minutes left on the clock they just didn’t have the strength left in them.

Gatland blames soft penalties

Coach Warren Gatland spoke for his team: “We’re absolutely gutted. Unfortunately we weren’t able to hold on for 80 minutes. We are incredibly disappointed.”

Speaking of Cuthbert, he added: “Potentially Alex should have stayed out for the try but it was an outstanding bit of skill. It was disappointing for us but you have to acknowledge the skill involved.”

“If you look at some of the penalties, some of them are very soft,” he added on the number of penalties Wales gave away in the first-half. “Giving away those three points was disappointing given how hard we worked to get ours.”

Both teams were strong in defence but Wales edged the Springboks with their set play and line speed, rattling South Africa in the first half.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Quarter Final - South Africa v Wales - Twickenham

Coming back into the second-half, the “soft” penalties by Wales ended, and South Africa came into the game, pushing Wales harder causing the game to become frenetic, multiple near misses and huge bone-crunching tackles from both sides.

Handre Pollard’s boot continued through the game to add points to the board, missing two attempts to pull further into the lead, ending his perfect kicking score but that failed to damper the South Africa win.

New Zealand stand in way of Boks reaching final

Wales may have lost but they should be proud of the game they played. With everything they had, history defeated them, with the Springboks winning 17 of 18 games played against each other.

Now, it is Rugby World Cup holders New Zealand who will oppose the Boks in the semi-finals.


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Steph Mallinson