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RWC 2019: Wales vs South Africa Preview

Wales vs South Africa
Photo Copyright Steve Haag Sport

Wales vs South Africa

South Africa will be looking to qualify for their third World Cup final when they take on Warren Gatland’s Wales on Sunday the 27th of October.

Sunday will see South Africa and Wales square off in the weekend’s second Rugby World Cup final. The Springboks will be looking to book a spot in their third final while the Welsh will be looking to contest their for first-ever.

South Africa

It’s something of a minor miracle that the Springboks have made this final as under two years ago they were sitting in their worst position ever on the IRB World Rankings.

Rassie Erasmus’ boys have enjoyed a solid if not spectacular World Cup thus far. They haven’t really gone about their work that slowly as they finished the pool stage as the top points scorers. They have seemed to be stuck somewhere between third and fourth gear, however, with solid quarters being followed by subdued quarters.

This was the case against Japan as they failed to capitalize on a number of opportunities during the opening 20-minutes which lead to them allowing the host nation back into the game and going into the half-time break only two points to the good.

They can ill-afford any lapses in concentration against the Welsh this week as Warren Gatland’s side know how to expose mistakes.

Wales

The Dragons have also failed to breathe fire at the tournament but have plodded along in a nice old manner. They topped their group and earned a semi-final against World Cup wonders France, who rolled back the years with a gutsy performance that really tested Warren Gatland’s charges who prevailed by just one-point courtesy of a very late try from flanker Ross Moriarty.

Wales were extremely lucky to win last weekend’s affair as France were forced to play the game for the majority of the second stanza. Sometimes, though, sides are able to ride their luck and prevail at a Rugby Worl Cup. Just ask the South Africa ’95 squad who almost went out to the French at the semi-final stage.

Team News

Wales have lost back-rower Josh Navidi while South Africa are sweating on the fitness of hooker Bong Mbonambi. And while Tendai Mtawarira looks to have escaped any retrospective action, you just never know what might happen with this RWC disciplinary panel.

The Stats That Matter

  • The two sides have met a total of 35 times with South Africa winning 28, Wales six and one draw.
  • Five of Wales’ six victories have come in the last five years, however, and they are currently on a four-game unbeaten run against South Africa
  • The pair have only met at World Cups twice, with South Africa winning both affairs; 17-16 back in 2011 and 23-19 at the last Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
  • Three of the last five fixtures between the sides have been won by less than five points.

Verdict – Wales vs South Africa

Wales (+7.5)

I’m expecting the ‘Boks to just prevail in what will be a seriously tight fixture.

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