South Africa will take on Wales in the second of the Rugby World Cup semi final's. The International Stadium in Yokohama is the venue for Sunday's clash and the Springboks are the bookmakers favourites.
Wales v South Africa, Sunday 27th October, Yokohama, KO 11:00 (South African time)
Weather Forecast – Yokohama Stadium
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Wales came through their quarter final match up with France by the narrowest of margins. The final score finished 20-19 in Wales favour with the decisive score being a converted try 5 minutes from time. Wales started that game as 6.5 point favourites but they were 12-0 down inside 10 minutes and 19-10 in arrears at half time. The major turning point came in the 49th minute when a senseless red card saw France reduced to 14 men. Wales cut the deficit to 13-19 on 54 minutes but there was no further scoring until that frantic finale when Ross Moriarty crossed and Dan Biggar converted.
Wales come into the play offs after topping Pool D with a 100% record. They started with a 43-14 win over Georgia before winning the pool's defining game against Australia 29-25. They also saw off a spirited effort from Fiji in a 29-17 victory and were already aussured of a quarter final place by the time they beat Uruguay 35-13.
Wales have never reached a World Cup final but they appeared in the semi finals twice before. In RWC 2011 they were edged out 9-8 by France in Auckland and in RWC 1987 they were thrashed 49-6 by New Zealand in Brisbane.
Wales have scored 19 tries in the tournament so far whilst conceding 12. Josh Adams is their leading try scorer with 5 whilst Gareth Davies, Liam Williams and Tomos Williams have 2.
The winner of this match will take on either England or New Zealand in the final and Wales are trading in the region of 8/1 to 10/1 to win the tournament
The Springboks ended the hopes of host nation Japan with a 26-3 quarter final victory in Tokyo last Sunday. It took until the second half for the Boks to dominate after Japan trailed just 5-3 at the break. Three penalties from Pollard stretched the lead before a Faf de Klerk try and Mapimpi's second try of the match took the Boks beyond a pre-match handicap which had seen Japan given a 14.5 point start by the bookmakers. It was far from spectacular but the Boks got the job done.
After losing their opening match of the tournament 23-13 to the All Blacks, victories over Namibia (57-3), Italy (49-3) and Canada (66-7) saw South Africa finish as runners up in Pool B. Including the quarter final they have scored 30 tries and conceded 3.
South Africa have won 2 and lost 2 of their previous 4 RWC semi finals and in 2015 they were edged out 20-18 by the All Blacks in a semi staged at Twickenham. The 2 semi final victories, against Argentina in 2007 and France in 1995 saw the Boks go on to be crowned world champions.
Makazole Mapimpi is the Boks leading try scorer in the tournament with 5 whilst Cobus Reinach and Bongo Mbonambi have both scored 2.
South Africa are trading between 3/1 and 100/30 second favourites to win the tournament with most bookmakers.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny. 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies 12, Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn
Head to Head
Wales have won each of the last 4 head to heads, 3 of which were staged in Cardiff and 1 on neutral ground in the USA.
There have been 2 past meetings between these nations in the RWC and South Africa won both of them;
In RWC 2015 the Boks won a quarter final clash at Twickenham 23-19 with both teams scoring 1 try
In RWC 2011 South Africa won a pool stage match in Wellington 17-16, with the Boks scoring 2 tries to Wales' 1
Most Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2018 INT Cardiff Wales 20-11 South Africa Tries 2-1
2018 Washington Wales 22-20 South Africa Tries 3-2
2017 INT Cardiff Wales 24-22 South Africa Tries 3-3
2016 INT Cardiff Wales 27-13 South Africa Tries 2-1
2015 RWC Twickenham Wales 19-23 South Africa Tries 1-1
2014 INT Cardiff Wales 12-6 South Africa Tries 0-0
2014 INT Nelspruit South Africa 31-30 Wales Tries 4-3
2014 INT Durban South Africa 38-16 Wales Tries 5-1
Early Betting – Match Result
South Africa 7/20
Wales+8.5 points at 9/10
South Africa -8.5 points at 9/10
Quotes are an average of what was on offer from a selection of bookmakers at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Both sides have been hit by injuries but I think Wales are worse off with the loss of Liam Williams a huge blow. There has been money for the Boks all week (and the lads on THE HANDICAP show last night are all in agreement) and the handicap is out to 9.5 in places and the more I think about the game the more I think they will be too strong for a Welsh side that has yet to impress me in the tournament. GGGaming are dangling -7.5 at 1/1 and that has to be snapped up.
BET: 5 units South Africa -7.5 at 1/1 at GGGaming
I do like a couple of other plays though:
BET: 0.5 unit 1st scoring play - any team drop goal at 33/1 at WSB
Both these teams enjoy a drop goal and I expect it to be high on the agenda in a match of this nature. This would have arrived in the Wales v Australia game so there is every chance of an early snap at posts.
I also like the 18/10 that WSB have that there will be a drop goal in this game but will wait and see if anyone else prices up.
The Handicap, RWC Semi Final Preview