RWC2019: Wales v South Africa Rate the Match

Ross Moriarty

What did you think of today’s semi-final match between Wales and South Africa?

What were the main talking points? Was it a fair result?

Tell us what you thought of the game in the comments below, and we’ll put together some reaction and analysis in due course.

And who do you think will win the final next week?

41 thoughts on “RWC2019: Wales v South Africa Rate the Match

  1. I’d prefer to have England play South Africa. Thought the Welsh game plan a bit limited but then they missed Williams at 15 and probably Navidi too who’s quicker around the park!

    1
    1. SA have the best defence at this world cup in my opinion. Hard for Wales to break that down but they did, just couldn’t quite get over the line in the end.

      1. I’d have to disagree. Wales found it hard to break them down because Wales have very little on the way of attack. Parkes and Davies are not good distributors of the ball, Davies showing this with a couple of easy forward passes in good attacking positions. Wales were able to get wide on a few occasions in the first half, I’m not sure why they didn’t try to do this more the second half.
        SA defend well but narrow, I think England will try draw in defends before getting it wide.

        1. They may well do. But SA use shooters in defence like you guys. It’s how you stopped NZ getting around the corner and how they may stifle you. You may not need to use them though with the power you have. I’m worried it’s going to be a big heavyweight slug fest in the middle with pens and DG’s. You both play similar rugby but right now you play it better, and you have better players in the breakdown. I’m not expecting any out wide play from wither side in this match but I will be happy to be wrong!

  2. HEARTBROKEN for Wales. Halfpenny was imperious. They did what they always did and came back. We know all about Wales in the 6 Nations. They evolved into a fighter that’s never beaten. They always come back.

    Watching that last push by Wales was harrowing because they were tired and losing momentum after getting turned over on the 5m line but still had it back on the 22, that was the time to kick in the corner and ping South Africa back because they needed a breather but they gave away the penalty.

    Be proud Wales, you played great. I also think Wales got the worse end of the deal from the ref, with forwards passes that were marginal, I’ve seen much more clear forward passes not penalised.

    I don’t know why but I enjoyed this game much more. It was open and territorial, and could absolutely have gone either way, unlike the 1-way wrestle of yesterday.

    Yesterday was like a cheetah trapped in a vice that was slowly crushing them for 80 minutes, this game was a beautiful nervy territorial game. Wales so unlucky but you did yourselves proud.

    Bokke to win the whole thing, I hope.
    GUTTED for Wales. Really feel for Halfpenny who played an incredible match. Wales were great, the coin toss just flipped against them, so unfair… 🙁

      1. I love your team. It’s the upper wing of your arrogant fans I’m not enamoured with. Also you are the favourite for the final no doubt about it, so much power.

        We Irish pretty much ALWAYS support the under dog. I thought I’d be neutral for today but this Welsh team won me over with their heart. Thank you Wales for giving me something to cheer about even though Ireland are out.

    1. I really have to ask how you thought today’s game was better? Nothing of note happened in the first half and though the second half was a marginal improvement – mainly because SA got their attack going – it was still didn’t offer much other than a tense finish.
      Too many scrums, too much kicking, often wayward from both sides. As pollard pointed out in the week, Wales lack any sort of attacking flair and it showed.
      I also though a few forward passes, mainly from JD, went unnoticed, so that was lucky on their part.
      Today’s match was boring, imo, but then I was a mutual.

      2
      1. Did you mean ‘neutral’? It was in the balance. I feel It was there for Wales. They just panicked a bit at the end. They had SA in their own 22 gave away a penalty to allow them exit and to get back on the front foot. Yesterday was all England and felt claustrophobic as you suffocated them. You prevented them from playing and gave them a taste of their own medicine to be frank. Honestly neither one will go down in the record books for the neutral I think. I enjoyed today because it was close and either side could have won. It was a territorial game.

  3. A full game imo but Very Happy with the result. I thought Wales might steal it right until the end. Pretty disappointed with trolling on this site though. Usually don’t see it here.

    2
  4. Arm wrestle. Neither side particularly deserved to win or lose. Down to that pen in the end. SA put themselves in position. Only a try a piece, like yesterday. Plenty kicking. Expect similar in the final ? No real controversy or cards. Teams getting cagey? Conservative? Dunno about stats today? TRB? Might be interesting to see ‘ how, if hey may impact the final. What about the ‘forgotten’ other ‘final’ on Fri?

    3
  5. This World Cup has seen lots of attacking rugby from Japan, NZ, England and Fiji, alongside attritional, workmanlike Rugby from SA, Wales and Ireland. This game was tight and tense but also dire. No real attempt to put pace on the ball for any sustained period like we saw yesterday. Let’s hope we see some rugby played in both games next week.

    3
    1. Have to agree with this. The limit of each team’s ambition seemed to be to hoist the ball in the air and hope the other side would drop it – which to be fair, both sides did quite a bit.
      Neither team showed any invention in attack, there was no effort by Wales to move the big Saffas around with clever kicking and only once or twice to get the ball outside of them – and likewise, SA barely got the ball past De Allende rather than using their massive forwards to create space out wide for their wingers.
      Just as a little example of Wales’ lack of ambition, here are the attacking stats for their centres from ESPN Scrum:
      Davies 3 passes 2 runs for 0 metres
      Parkes 1 pass 4 runs for 2 metres
      You’d think that Wales had tiny amounts of possession with those stats – but no. They had 61% of possession!
      To have a centre of Davies’ quality and to use him 5 times in a match where you have 61% of the ball is absolutely criminal.

      8
      1. Yes, with that amount of possession, although I wouldn’t have guessed it was that much, Wales must have frittered too much away. Really ought to have at least just won, rather than just lost.

        1. Wales didn’t fritter anything away they just made the wrong decisions against a fairly average SA. 15 phases trying to batter through the middle against one of the most physical teams in world rugby when you have an outstanding back three…it just shows no confidence in the centre!

          1. Wales lost that match when they didn’t ping them back when they had them in their own 22 at 16 – 16. They were out on their feat so it was time to play territorial and make them make a mistake in their own 22. SA weren’t about to go and score a try. Wales had them but maybe they ran out of steam.

          2. Well Mark H, aren’t wrong decisions frittering it away? Like trying to batter away through the middle? Also SA are IN the final, so can’t be that average surely?

            3
    2. Ireland have been attritional in 2919, for me they played their best rugby in 2016 when they beat NZ with attacking running rugby. Wales are normally less attritional, but injuries have force them into their shell a bit. NZ are both free flowing and attritional, as are France, maybe England too but less so. They were very attritional against the AB’s yesterday and it won them the game. They beat them up really.

      Japan stand alone for me as the only tier 1 team (I’m calling them that now) that is all about playing out wide with backs but that didn’t get them past SA. Argentina used to be but have changed things a bit. You HAVE at least a little attritional at this level. That’s the unfortunate reality.

      Hence we have arguably the 2 teams in the final that are fronted up most to play that kind of game. There’s no team that got to the semis without some degree of wearing opponents down. This is where rugby league and 7’s outshines union. If England fans think they beat the AB’s without playing attritional rugby, they are away with the fairies. It’s what the modern game is all about these days to some degree. It’s unavoidable and sad to see but that what union is becoming.

  6. Not the greatest of matches but I guess winning was the only thing that mattered. Going to be interesting to see how EJ deals with the brick wall that is SA. Quick ball I guess!

    1
    1. I think it’s the other way around. How can SA breach the white walls sprinting at them and big white powerhouse shooters! England are favourites for this game, without question. They have evolved past SA in physicality.

  7. The same accusations could be levied at Wales that have been used against England in the very recent past. An inability to change and adapt. Very brave decision to take the scrum that lead to the penalty, maybe showed what was possible with a little more adventure. Over coached maybe. Echoes again of Engs semi in in 2003 that lead to the honesty session, although obviously End scraped through, in this instance Wal failed.
    Much rather Eng face SA, the chance to complete the treble over the big three S Hems in a RWC is just incredible. And Wal/Gats have a real knack with the mind games against Eng.
    Finals are never a done deal, there’s potential injuries to sort out just for starters….but EJ will be desperate to get the win as much as the players are to address 2007.

    2
  8. I agree that Eng are better off meeting SA in the final than Wales. They don’t play against the northern teams as much of course and as you say, Gatland will always try to get in behind you. This is very hard for SA now as England can match them or even better them for power and they can go out wide albeit in a very structured way with May and Watson. The best hope for SA in the final may be to go for loads of drop goals I fear and try and get England rattled that way. They can’t go through them like they could against Japan, and England will tactically kick them to pin them back in the aerial battle. Wales beat SA in the aerial battle today but England might come out on top in that regard next week.

    1
  9. Is Our physicality oberplayed a little bit? I’m not sure I’d like next week to become an arm wrestle as I think, even with UnderCurry, Mako, Sinckler etc, we may come off second best.

    1
    1. Not really Acee, not yet at least. I said in a post a while back that England haven’t yet been asked the big questions and it just might be that the only team that could do that has already been slain by them. I was hoping the AB’s would finally be that team to at least force England to play another way, and see if their backs game was any good against a top team like New Zealand, but as yet it’s really just Tonga and 14 man Argentina that they beat out wide and while I do find their attack in the backs secondary to what they do with forwards, we may not find out in this tournament. England might even have another gear we haven’t seen. They just blitzed New Zealand dominating them in the game so much so that England never needed to go out wide. Put it this way, it’s smart physicality. Even your backs are like other teams forwards. They’re big, yet powerful and fast.

      Clearly England are not looking to get a Cheslin Kolbe like player on board. It is big and physical tram in every aspect, but it’s pretty advanced stuff they’re doing so I’m not taking away from them. This may just be the natural evolution of rugby union! and England are leading the way if that’s the case.

      1. Agreed Bigglesworth. Eddie has turned us into a genuine fifteen man inter operative composite.
        As for Ireland, choice of coach is crucial and they need to find a leader in the POC/BOD mould but that won’t be easy. They have some excellent players but seem directionless and lack confidence. Thankfully, those issues should be relatively easy to fix. Any inkling who they are considering as head coach?

        1
        1. Andy Farrell has already been selected. I don’t know how that will work out. He’s untested as head coach having never been one before. Ironically Ireland probably have some of the best new young players coming through they ever had, having come 2nd in U-20 world championships in 2016, our best ever showing. So it’s never been brighter BUT can Farrell and his team make the most of this. As you may know, many of the heroes for national teams in the world cup come from great U-20 teams.

          1
  10. Took me a while to come down after this, came back from 9-3 to level it up then from 16-9 again levelling it felt it may just go our way but fell short again.

    Wasn’t our time I guess – it will come though, looking forward to the new coaching lineup and hope they can spur an attacking generation with the same determination gatland/Edwards instilled.

    Best of luck to the remaining teams, maybe we can sneak a NZ win for 3rd as a crown in our cap under Gatland.

  11. As per my comment on Wales V France thread, if you were anything other than Welsh or SA then it would bore you to tears.. I’m Welsh and it felt like my eyes were bleeding.

    Dire match, SA just about had the edge in all departments. They slowed the ball tremendously well at the breakdown, and without the quick ball your options to work it through the backline become more and more limited.
    We couldn’t match the physicality. Couldn’t break the gain line, couldn’t clear out the breakdown quick enough which just left us with the option of one up carries and booting the ball away.

    Having said that, the battling qualities of Wales though to always stick in there (predominantly by dragging others down to our level) is admirable. There was a good chance of again pinching a game we shouldn’t have been able to. Further to that, in also missing key personnel in key areas we still gave a good account. Strength in depth has always been an issue for us, and while this has improved in some areas, there’s still key positions where the dip in quality is noticeable.

    It’s the end of an era/cycle. Wales are firmly in a rebuilding phase now so i’m not expecting Wales to challenge for much going forward as we bed in a new structure. In that sense, yesterday was a little bit more painful than perhaps 2015.

    England? Outstanding, I’ve never witnessed an 80mins of rugby like it against NZ, as near to faultless as you could hope to get (lineout throw to the back on your own 5M line being the obvious exception)!

    I’ll be cheering for you on Saturday, hoping, and fully expecting you bring it back to the NH once again. Good luck!

    10
    1. Apart from everything stated, Wales did have that drop at goal which went awry. But for that, it could have been so different. Just not to be I guess.

  12. I think Wales will wake up kicking themselves this morning, they seemed hesitant to impose their game on the Boks and got drawn into a scrappy affair. On reflection they will feel that this game was there to be won, particularly with their favorable statistics.

    Looking forward to both games this weekend. I think the Kiwis will have too much for the Welsh, despite the heavy incentive of over-turning a 66 year losing streak. The Kiwis tend to respond better to hurt and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a heavy defeat.

    I’d love to see England back up their performance from Saturday but SA are a different sort of threat. If their big forwards get hold of the ball and de Klerk reaches the levels he is capable of, we will be in big trouble.

    1. Watch this (at 0.25 speed in settings):
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_xl76979TY&t=1188

      The Saffas brought down their own maul cynically to play the ref, and this clown ref is reffing the final. I really don’t like the English but I will now be supporting them 100% in this final for the northern hemisphere. And Garcès is reffing the final too.. England need to attack with ball in hand the same again and starve them of possession and stop them getting free pens. Same again really. Bring the game to them agains. Ford will need another big game. Play the way you did against SA. I really hate that crap.

      But I think SA have a trick up their sleeves. England will need to be at their very best. Kolbe will be back and is the kind of player to slip through England’s big physical defence. England need quick solid cover on the left flank and a top game from Daly. They need to be brilliant again.

  13. I am glad we got to see the Six Nations champs go up against the Rugby Championship champs.
    It was a cagey afair like you would expect from any final, and that was how both teams approached this match, because in effect it was a final.
    South Africa and Wales for that matter both played to their strengths I felt, but in hindsight I think the coaches (especially Gatland) will feel they should’ve tried to be a little bit more expansive in their game, but the Springboks did really well to slow down Welsh ball, and the game became more and more attritional as the game went on.
    Either side could’ve won it.
    At 16-9 I thought the Boks had a vice grip on the game, but the Welsh got back into it, and the game was only decided with 4 minutes to go, and Eddy Jones almost had his wish to have this game go to a draw and extra time granted.
    This semi final reminded me of the 1995 semi final against France in Durban (I was there with my late dad), in that the Boks almost lost that game with only minutes to go. The final score was 19-15, and the game ended with Stransky kicking the ball into the stands from his dead ball area with the French left rueing a missed opportunity after the Welsh referee had just disallowed what looked like what might have been a try. It was very close.
    I hope that this time, like then, the Boks will go on and win against their heavily favoured opponents. I am South African by the way.
    Remember how in the other 1995 semi final the All Blacks destroyed the English, compliments of Jonah Lomu? This tournament the shoe was on England’s foot, and I, like so many rugby fans, was blown away by how well England dominated that game.
    I expect a similiar final to the one in 1995. There were no tries in that game.
    I am also a fan of English rugby. May the better team win.

    1
  14. Coach Erasmus got what he had planned for, SA in the final. How he plans to play the final, I have no idea. If England get a fast start I think SA will be in trouble. If the match is an arm wrestle I am sure it will go to extra time, that is when Frans Steyn will come into his own, A couple three or four dropkicks from 50/60 metres. You only need 1 to hit

Leave a Reply