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TOKYO (AP) — Wales and South Africa have gone about their business quietly in Tokyo this week, avoiding the barbs, cheap shots, claims and counter-claims that have marked the buildup to the other Rugby World Cup semifinal this weekend.
New Zealand vs. England, complete with their global PR and headline-grabbing coaches, is glamor fixture.
It has left Wales vs. the Springboks as something of an afterthought, which is slightly unwarranted given the teams’ form in 2019.
The protagonists in Sunday’s second semifinal in Yokohama have lost just one competitive match between them this year — and that was South Africa’s pool-stage defeat to the All Blacks at this World Cup.
They are hardened test-match teams that have almost forgotten what it feels like to lose.
But one has to come off second best in what is expected to be a brutally physical test at the International Stadium.
“It won’t be the prettiest game in the world,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said Friday.
The Welsh haven’t tasted defeat in a match of any meaning since March last year in the Six Nations. That’s 19 months ago.
The long goodbye to Gatland, their coach of 12 years, could yet end at the country’s fi
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