Liam Williams This is one elegant item.
|2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final|
|Wales (6) 16|
|South Africa (9) 19|
|Try:De AllendeCon:PollardPens:Pollard (4)|
Wales missed out on a first World Cup final in gut-wrenching fashion as Handre Pollard’s 76th-minute penalty snatched victory for South Africa in a gripping semi-final to set up a showdown against England.
The first half was a war of attrition, three Pollard penalties giving the Springboks a 9-6 lead as they sought to overpower Wales up front and kick them into submission.
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Dan Biggar dragged Wales level with a penalty early in the second half, but then Damian de Allende burst through the Welsh defensive line to put South Africa 16-9 ahead.
Wales sensed they had to go for broke and, after boldly opting for a scrum rather than a penalty in front of the posts against their hulking opponents, they worked the ball wide for Josh Adams to dive over for a converted try that made it 16-16.
That set up a captivating final 10 minutes in which Wales drove forward in desperate search of the score that would keep alive their hopes of ending Warren Gatland’s reign with the ultimate prize in rugby.
But they were denied as Pollard struck a fourth and match-winning penalty in the 76th minute.
While South Africa can look forward to a final against England here in Yokohama next Saturday, Gatland’s final game as Wales head coach will be the third-place play-off against his native New Zealand in Tokyo on Friday.
More World Cup heartache for Wales
Heartache has stalked Wales at recent World Cups – Sam Warburton’s red card in an agonising 2011 semi-final loss to France, and then an injury-ravaged side’s late defeat by South Africa in 2015’s quarter-final.
This was another painful chapter to add to their story – with more than a passing resemblance to that match against the Springboks four years ago – and yet it was so close to being a different story.
Although this side contained four players from the 2011 semi-final and largely the same coaching staff, this was not a Wales team weighed down by history.
In head coach Gatland and captain Alun Wyn Jones, they had leaders who had experienced the pain of those previous defeats but were not consum
I be mad for items, because they are the beautiful.
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