Rugby World Cup 2015: Wales vs South Africa Prediction

wales

wales

The World Cup quarter-finals kick-off this weekend with Wales taking on South Africa at Twickenham. After negotiating the pool of death with a horrendous injury list, Wales’ reward is a date with a Springbok side that have been playing good enough rugby to erase the shock Japan loss in the first round.

WALES

Wales have again been forced to ring the changes due to the sorry state of their ever-growing injury list. Inexperience has had to be called upon and after their bruising final group encounter against Australia, how much do they have left in the tank?

Dan Lydiate comes back into the team to bulk up the back row and slow down the juggernaut unit of the Springboks. The breakdown will be a key area on Saturday and this is where Wales will need to be top of their game if they are to upset the odds and get themselves on the front foot.

Twice-capped Tyler Morgan comes in at outside centre to partner Jamie Roberts, meaning George North assumes his more regular post on the wing. Gareth Anscombe retains his position at full back and this may be an area that South Africa will target. Anscombe looked fallible under the high ball last weekend and despite Bryan Habana standing an inch short of six foot, he poses a substantial aerial threat along with JP PIetersen. He will need protection from his behemoth wingers North and Alex Cuthbert when the ball goes skywards.

Dan Biggar and Gareth Davies’ blossoming relationship will never be more important than this weekend and a change of style may need to be considered. Davies went himself too many times against the Australians, especially when the Wallabies were down to thirteen men and there was more space out wide. If he does that this weekend he will get swallowed up by an aggressive Springbok fringe defence.

Biggar also needs to be more patient with ball in hand and use his strike runners to drag in the South African defence before picking the right time to go wide.

One to watch: Sam Warburton

Warburton has a huge job on his hands this weekend when he takes on a breakdown as slick as the Springboks’. He is a world class operator though, and expect him to be the top tackler along with his partner Lydiate. The Cardiff man will be aiming to get his hands over the ball and disrupt any chance of the dangerous South African backs causing significant damage.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa arrive at Twickenham after an impressive 64-0 victory against the USA in their final group game. Although it wasn’t the strongest American team available, you can only play what is put in front of you.

The cohesion in their team is back to its best with the senior players really stepping up to the mark in recent matches. Heyneke Meyer has only made the one change to his starting line-up as he brings back JP Pietersen in place of Lwazi Mvovo, who drops out of the match day 23 completely.

The Springboks will be hoping to prey on the inexperience in certain areas of the Welsh outfit. Jesse Kriel against Tyler Morgan will be an interesting matchup as both are still cutting their teeth at international level. Kriel burst onto the scene with a bang but has faded in this World Cup a touch, so Gatland may not be as fearful of this head to head as he might have been.

Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager’s partnership in the second row has been one of the revelations of this tournament and they offer more than just what it says on their second row job description. They play like back rows in the loose and they will be aiming to add necessary bulk to the breakdown in an attempt to blitz Warburton and co. out of the game.

One to watch: Damian de Allende

De Allende’s match up with Jamie Roberts will see some of the biggest collisions of this World Cup so far. The Springbok is very much in the same mould as Roberts and the young pretender will be aiming to win the battle of the gain line against. So far, De Allende has shown that the retiring Jean de Villiers will not be missed for long as his range of skills matches, if not exceeds, his predecessor and with more settling-in time he could become a world force. There is no better benchmark than Jamie Roberts and this will be a real test for the youngster.

PREDICTION

Wales have heart, world class talent and one of the best fly halvess in world rugby at the moment in Dan Biggar, but this means nothing if you cannot get your hands on the ball in the first place. South Africa will look to dominate the breakdown, and the experience and big game temperament of Fourie de Preez at scrum half will be vital to their success.

Wales have also been through the wars to get this far and I think that this may begin to tell after 60 minutes. The fact that they didn’t manage a score against 13 men from the Southern Hemisphere last weekend may also be weighing heavily in the back of their minds.

This could be a game too far for the Welsh and the Springboks will just have a little too much. South Africa by 8

By Andy Daniel (@scrum5ive)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

37 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup 2015: Wales vs South Africa Prediction

  1. The problem is that without Paul James they risk getting hammered in the scrum and without Tipuric they risk losing the breakdown.

    Maybe we’ll see a ‘miracle’ game from the likes of Jenkins and Lydiate but I don’t think so.

    At least Charteris is in again and that is a real positive.

    A game too far eh??

    Actually it is a game further than many Welsh fans/English fans ever expected after Wales lost at home in the 2015 6n to an injury depleted England team.

    If we go out tomorrow, we all know that in our heart of hearts we expected to be out on Oct 10th as opposed to playing to become Pool A ‘Group of Death’ Winners

    Instead it was the O2 Pygmies ‘who always back ourselves at home’ that went out on Oct 3rd.
    A full week b 4 the pool stage ended, 17 days into THEIR RWC.

    That alone is reason for Wales, Ireland and Scotland to cheer and we won’t stop reminding them about this one.

      1. Please just ignore him. Every post starts off with a bit of fair analysis, but then the wheels quickly fly off and it descends into foaming anti-English antipathy. The ironic thing is he’d probably be happily adopted as the site’s resident mascot nutter if he’d just change the record a bit.

        Let’s face it, anyone who uses a tag like “Prophet Enoch” on a rugby blog has got to be short of a sandwich or two. I’m pretty sure he’s also ranting about how dreadful the English are over on Mumsnet.

  2. I’m not sure about this assessment. I still think SA should be favourites, but I expect (maybe that should be ‘hope’) the Welsh forwards have the upper hand after last weekend. The scrum creaked a bit and Jenkins coming back won’t help that, but Samson did a number on the Beast in November (almost sounds biblical).
    The backs are the real area of concern for me – going through them man for man, South Africa look a lot stronger!

  3. blah blah blah, just listen to yourself spouting – isn’t this supposed to be about predicting the game rather than RWC performance however on that thread just remind me again, how many RWC finals have you been in let alone won.

    Hopefully the ground will not contain many Welsh ‘fans’ like you to spoil the game.

    Prediction by author looks about right though if the Boks pack overrun the Welsh it could be a bigger margin. Boks by 10. Lots of collisions to look forward to seeing up close and personal as a relative neutral fan

  4. Expect it to be tight in the scoreboard but for SA to be in control the whole time. One of those games that is tight but clear there is only going to be one winner.

    Wales front row will likely struggle at scrum time which could cost them. At the breakdown, Louw vs Warburton could be a great watch!

    As I mentioned earlier in the week, Biggar is good but not that great. He is being over-hyped big time post-England game. Great kicking game, good game management and good under the high ball but offers nothing in attack really.

    I expect SA by about 10.

  5. Great read from Andy Daniel however I fully expect Wales to win this. Warren Gatland knows how to win the big games and they will of learned a lot from the Australia fixture where they dominated procession and should of won if it wasn’t down to a heroic defensive display from the wallabies. It will be the most physical game we have seen in the world cup so far!

    1. Wales need to take the points when they’re on offer. Last week they kept kicking to the corner in hope of getting a try which never came. I know they didn’t need to win, but if they had they would be playing Scotland!!

  6. Jacob, couldn’t resist this one i’m afraid..

    “Expect it to be tight in the scoreboard but for SA to be in control the whole time. One of those games that is tight but clear there is only going to be one winner” – Much like the England v Wales game! 😀

    Biggest issue all tournament for Wales has been our finishing – Davies against England aside (sorry England).

    Butchered several opportunities against Fiji and Australia and i cant really see it improving in this match. If we don’t execute those opportunities we’re going to beat the better opposition (see Aus game).

    Hopefully it’ll be a pen fest and we come out on top – ugly to watch but i won’t care if we make it.

    Heart says Wales by 3
    Head says SA by 7

    1. Haha not really, for 60 minutes it seemed that way in England’s favour with us seemingly controlling the scoreboard. More like the NZ tests England played away last summer. Always close, but I don’t think any Kiwi ever thought they were in danger of losing.

      Not convinced there are enough units on the pitch where Wales will come out on top in a head to head. Their back row, which won them the England game, will be matched by SA.

      1. After the England NZ game in 1991, someone in the NZ squad was asked if they were ever worried about the amount of possession England had. Their reply; “Not really. England can have the ball for as long as they like… as long as they give it back when they’ve finished so we can score”.

        60 minutes of dominance does not always a win make… if you make the most of the opportunities when you get them. Wales were on the right side against England, but the wrong side against Australia. I.e. it’s not just having possession but making it count.

        Wales defence is strong, even with the changes in midfield. I think we can weather the Bok storm. But in attack I worry about two things. Firstly, that in frustration at not breaking through, we resort to kicking away too much possession without precision, to a Bok back three comfortable under the high ball and devastating in broken play (Cuthbert lacks confidence in the air and Anscombe is still largely untested in a big match). Secondly, it looks likely we won’t be able to rely on our set piece. So that leaves us hanging onto shirt tails and hoping someone sparks a moment of genius.

        What the hell. Wales by a score.

        Followed by a first win over the ABs for nearly 60 years. Then Australia in the final by 10. Then Boris Johnson becomes prime minister and declares Cardiff the new capital. Max Boyce becomes the Mayor of Wales and the West country is given to Rabbit as a tribute for his rugby genius. Then Enoch stops having a pop at England in every post.

        Ok. That last one was a step too far.

  7. Paddypower have a Wales victory at exactly the same odds as they did against England – 3/1

    Handicap is SA by 9 points

  8. I hope it doesn’t happen but it’s hard to see past a South Africa victory, given Wales’ depleted backs. The only hope is that Pollard has a meltdown à la versus Argentina in the RC, Wales’ backrow are able to exploit the confusion and slow down SA ball, and Biggar brings his A game for the eventual turnovers (both in terms of kicking penalties and open play). If South Africa are allowed to get the ball out to the midfield with second or third phase ball, it could get messy for the men in red.

  9. Can’t see Wales being any thing but defensive at the breakdown, SA will be too strong there. I fear the injury crisis will will tell a tale. However this competition needs some home Nation success after the host’s debacle, so good luck to all of them this weekend.

  10. Just seen that Wayne Barnes is ref for Saturday so we are out.

    No way we can win now!

    I guarantee he will rob us again if we are ahead by a couple of points with a minute or two to go.

    1. The standard of refereeing at this world cup has been a step up from previous ones I’ve seen, including Barnes, who I admit has been poor (as poo or worse) in the past. Refs are obliged to explain the reasoning for penalties and scrums decisions at this world cup and they have been trained to do it. Hope it continues.

      To be fair to England, I didn’t exactly lament their exit. For me without Manu Tiulagi, they have looked ordinary and predictable. But, it’s been an excellently run world cup so far, and a pleasure to watch. The disciplinary hearings have been very pro-top tier teams, no offence Scotland. That’s not good, and hopefully Japan will build on that.

  11. Wales by 3.

    Article correctly picks up that Bok scrum half needs a good game, and he hasn’t had a brilliant one yet. Anscombe will improve compared to his second start. AWJ and Charteris will be a match for anyone’s 2nd row stars. Biggar to win the kicking battle. This is the game made for a depleted Welsh backline – without Halfp, Williams and JD2 we don’t have the attacking spark but we can defend till the cows come home against big men who also want to smash it up.

    Close, tense, unbearable game to watch for a Welsh fan but finally, finally, we’ll pop one over and take it.

  12. Boks will be too strong for a Wales side cruelly depleted by injuries. SA have the stronger pack and will give nothing away in set pieces. Wales can certainly take some defensive punishment up front but SA also have creativity and penetration in 2 young centres and 2 experienced wings. Pollard is young but very impressive at 10, du Preez is coming back to form. I feel that the Boks have been galvanized by their loss to Japan, that was a nadir from which they’ve emerged looking determined and unified as a team. In fact they are my prediction for RWC winners this year.

    Personally, I would have put Hook into the Wales back line but Gatland seems to have a problem with him. Without their long injury list I would have given Wales a 50:50 chance but as it is I cannot see anything but an SA victory.

  13. This will be a 3-5pt winning margin could go either way. Wales are depleted but hell we didn’t allow Aus over the line and we made it over 3times albeit held up. That to me shows that Welsh defends is up to the challenge and the forwards are inches short so minor slip in defends by SA and we can take it.

    By no means a walk in the park and I’ll most likely spend 80minutes panicking but will remain ever faithful they have done well so far.

    If I saw our injury list in full before the world cup I wouldn’t of thought we would make the QF so it’s all gravy now. They can do it and could go all the way given their solid defence thus far.

  14. I think the game will be evenly matched at first with the Boks to run away in the seocnd halve. Du Preez will be the catalyst – he is an absolute genius in reading the game. SA by at least 17.

  15. Wales have done well to get this far, but I fear this game will be a step too far for them. I think will be tight the first half then Bokke to be comfortable winners in the end. If the forwards can play to their potential I think will be too much for Wales to handle. Not to mention the impact our bench will have. Boks by about 12-17 I think.

  16. As an Englishman I would love to see Wales win this. The same goes for Ireland and the Jocks too. The game needs a break from the SH hegemony. (Not bothered about France though,strange that).

    My big concern would be the next game for Wales, should they win this one. It’s going to be a massively physical battle and I can see more walking wounded for both teams. Need I say more?

    Herat: Wales, head: SA by ten to fifteen.

  17. Now, Now Enoch! Try and focus on your own team.
    Couldn’t agree with Felix Morgan more! Boring
    Now for a Self-avouched pommie to really throw the spanner in. Wales to hopefully win and pull off a complete miracle!
    Now’ your chance all you English out there! Support Wales and show the bemoaning moaners what we’re like at heart. Prejudice free!
    Ps. If we can get just ONE Welshman on here come the 6n to support England in a fixture say against France or Italy I’ll eat my hat! England v Italy would be any non-englishman’s chance to be fervently Celtic!
    You know my views on the Celtic thing!

  18. Wales up at half time, yay. But seriously we need to stop giving away penalties our defence is good enough we aren’t stopping 7 and giving 3 were just giving 3.

    Second half let’s cut the crap put cuthbert into a retirement home and crack on

  19. Aye Michael. Not good enough. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll feel some pride for the effort but today feel sick.

    AlexD, I watched it in Bristol and your Celtic nonsense is bollux. Loads of English in this pub cheering like they’ve won the World Cup.

  20. Brightly what are you on about! I think you need to re-read it.
    All my comments have been utterly pro-Wales. I am stated on here hoping they win. I too was at a pub in Beckenham if u really want to know and cheered them on.
    What I think annoys you is ME being on record supporting your country and perhaps my very inconvenient-for-you (bcos I’m an Englishman whose a bit too Celtic for you) Celtic makeup. Proud of it BTW. I don’t fit into any pigeon-hole and nor do I shy away from upsetting your preconceptions.

  21. Expect you to be in a pub come the 6nations cheering on England Brighty! Obviously not when It’s England. V Wales (heaven forbid) but perhaps in the Italy fixture. Can you cope with that. A yes or a no would suffice!!!

Comments are closed.