Fixtures - Top Bar

Wales 19 South Africa 23

WalesRWC15Dejected1005SB15

Fourie du Preez’s late try broke Welsh hearts at Twickenham as South Africa edged an enthralling Rugby World Cup quarter-final 23-19.

The result means Wales, who included Aviva Premiership Rugby’s George North in their ranks, fail to reach the semi-finals for the sixth time in the last seven World Cups, whereas the Springboks are still on track to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy for a third time.  

Gareth Davies’ fifth try of the tournament and the boot of Dan Biggar gave Wales the slenderest of leads at half-time despite Handre Pollard’s impeccable kicking in response.

In a game that was a fantastic advert for knockout rugby from start to finish, the lead changed hands several times after the break as Pollard and Biggar duelled from the tee.

The Welsh fly-half is legitimately in the conversation as the best No.10 in the world but it was the combination of two world-class Springbok players – No.8 Duane Vermeulen and scrum-half du Preez – that settled the contest with six minutes remaining and booked a last-four clash with either France or New Zealand.

Wales spurned an early opportunity at Twickenham as Gethin Jenkins looped a pass over Tyler Morgan when the centre had the try-line at his mercy.

The red wave of attack continued but a stubborn South Africa defence held firm and in fact got on the board first when Pollard slotted a penalty after a transgression by Northampton Saints powerhouse North.

Pollard slotted two more three-pointers as the Springboks exerted pressure at the scrum although Biggar’s penalty in between kept Wales in touch.

And their attacking intent was rewarded with a 17th-minute try – Biggar brilliantly collecting his own up-and-under before feeding Davies to race under the posts.

However, yet more Welsh indiscipline enabled Pollard to go four-from-four soon after as the Springboks retook the lead.

North looked a constant threat with ball in hand – the winger gaining 53 metres in a first-half performance reminiscent of many at Franklin’s Gardens – but it was the boot of Biggar that gave Wales a 13-12 half-time lead as he slotted a drop goal with the last kick of the half.

With 84 per cent of World Cup knockout games being won by the team leading at the interval, the omens looked good for Warren Gatland’s troops and the pressure of being behind looked to tell on Pollard as he missed his first penalty early in the second half.

Biggar made him pay with a successful three-pointer after Schalk Burger was pinged but the South African kicker momentarily redeemed himself by nailing a 51st-minute drop goal.

However, he promptly missed second penalty – screwing his effort wide left – and while the Springbok back-row was looking ferocious in attack, their Welsh counterparts were refusing to yield a single yard in defence.

The consistent pounding away of the southern hemisphere side did pay dividends as Pollard slotted another penalty on the hour mark but Biggar responded in kind soon after to give his side a 19-18 advantage.

As the clock ticked down, the tension rose at Rugby HQ but it was a moment of magic from Vermeulen that helped settle proceedings with six minutes left.

The No.8 drew in Alex Cuthbert before flicking a sumptuous pass out of the back of his hand which enabled du Preez to dive over.

And the Springboks saw out the final few minutes in relative comfort as they now prepare for France or reigning champions New Zealand in what promises to be a mouth-watering semi-final.
 

Latest News

Anthony Watson targets England jersey ahead of Bath Rugby return

Anthony Watson is a man on a mission for club and country in 2017, hell-bent on regaining his England shirt ahead…

anthonywatson16sb1111theclash

Bristol Rugby skipper David Lemi returns for Pau clash

David Lemi returns as skipper when Bristol Rugby face Pau in the European Challenge Cup on Sunday (3pm KO). Only…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Will Spencer and Connor Braid set for Worcester Warriors debuts

Worcester Warriors duo Will Spencer and Connor Braid will make their club debuts this Saturday when they take on Newport…

carlhogg1111sb1617

Exeter Chiefs side to face Bordeaux Begles

Nothing less than victory will suffice for Rob Baxter and his Exeter Chiefs side ahead of Sunday’s European Champions Cup…

Jack Nowell in last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby final

Kurtley Beale named in Wasps team to face Connacht Rugby this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena

Kurtley Beale named in Wasps team to face Connacht Rugby this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena Wallaby signing Kurtley Beale…

Kurtley Beale will make his Wasps debut in the Champions Cup

England quartet return for Saracens European clash with Sale Sharks

Saracens have named their side to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round three of the European Rugby Champions Cup clash…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Harlequins team to play Timisoara Saracens

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Timisoara Saracens in Round 3 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at the…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Leicester Tigers team news for European Champions Cup trip to Ireland

Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs return to the Leicester Tigers line-up for Saturday's European Champions Cup trip to face Munster…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Sale Sharks name side to face Saracens in European Rugby Champions Cup

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Saturday (kick off…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Ewels and Stooke back for Bath Rugby

Charlie Ewels and Elliott Stooke both return to the Bath Rugby starting line-up tomorrow when they face Cardiff Blues in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Fisher hails ‘outstanding’ Gloucester Rugby after La Rochelle win

Gloucester Rugby ran in four tries as they romped to an impressive European Rugby Challenge Cup win over La Rochelle,…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Shervington re-joins Wasps on short-term contract

Edd Shervington has signed a three-month contract with the club to provide cover at hooker, following injuries to Tom Cruse…

Edd Shervington

Dean Hammond – We’ll play a positive brand of rugby

Winger Dean Hammond insists Worcester Warriors will play a positive brand of rugby as they prepare for Saturday's European Challenge…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Premiership Rugby clubs in Europe live on TV

Aviva Premiership Rugby’s finest return to European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup action this weekend looking to build on…

tvrelease1111

Josh Beaumont backs Sale Sharks’ new boys to shine

Marquee summer signings AJ MacGinty and Josh Charnley are primed and ready to make their presence felt in the second…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match officials for this weekend’s European fixtures

Northampton Saints will face Leinster in a rematch of the memorable 2011 final as the European Rugby Champions Cup returns…

629845781DM00026_Saracens_v

Sam Egerton ready for fierce Lyon challenge

Scrum-half Sam Egerton believes Newcastle Falcons can push on and meet ‘fire with fire’ against Lyon in the European Rugby…

Sam Egerton making a break against Ospreys in the Challenge Cup

Geoff Parling: Chiefs can draw European inspiration from last season’s heroics

Following two defeats from two, qualification for the European knock-out stages may look like mission improbable – but if there’s…

666709985_ht_1936_5ffe036790f2651d04cf02d772136916.jpg

Aaron Morris desperate for Quins to sort out away form

Aaron Morris is proud of Harlequins’ record at the Stoop but the full-back has warned his teammates the season will…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Fenton-Wells confident Lam will make impact at Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby flanker Nick Fenton-Wells is confident the club have acquired a top coach in Pat Lam but won’t let…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library