Wales will make a bid to reach their first ever Rugby World Cup final as they take on South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama on Sunday.
With Warren Gatland’s reign as Welsh head coach set to come to an end, the New Zealander would give anything to define his tenure with a Rugby World Cup triumph, but the test of a suffocating South African side will prove a major obstacle to overcome.
Wales’ narrow escape to victory against France, winning courtesy of a try six minutes from the final gong in Oita last Sunday, a skirmish which will undoubtedly encourage the Springboks.
South Africa, meanwhile, reached the final four of this year’s competition by defeating tournament hosts Japan in a convincing 26-3 triumph, sucking the life from the spirited Cherry Blossoms.
Wales have only won six of their 35 meetings with the Springboks, but they have been triumphant in the last four meetings between the nations from 2016 to the present day.
Fast-forward to the 2019 edition of the Rugby World Cup and Wales are undefeated, while the Springboks are only side remaining who did lose in the Pool stages, a reverse to the All Blacks in their opening encounter.
However, neither side has been lacking in tries, with the Springbok back Makazole Mapimpi has raced home five tries in the competition so far, but the attritional, pack dominant tactics of South Africa remain the same.
While the Springboks will aim to sap the life out of the Welsh attack, Gatland’s side will be out to seize the power of their back three, with Liam Williams, George North and the five-try Josh Adams all posing a significant threat to the South African defence.
In what promises to a far more breakdown orientated match in comparison to the free-flowing prospect of England v New Zealand, the Springboks could move one more stride towards a third Rugby World Cup title.
Ben’s Prediction: South Africa win by five points
Matches odds with Coral:
3/10 South Africa 20/1 Draw 11/4 Wales
Coral verdict with John Hill:“Punters are happy to the points here on Wales who although are the outsiders of the four teams left in the tournament, it has not put off patriotic Welsh supporters backing them to lift the trophy.”