Everything you need to know about the first World Cup 2015 quarter-final.
A 74th-minute try from veteran scrum-half and skipper Fourie du Preez took South Africa into the semi-finals of the World Cup and broke Welsh hearts, as, until then, Sam Warburton‘s men had led for all but three minutes of the second half.
Wales had turned round 13-12 ahead at half-time, with Handre Pollard‘s four penalties being outweighed by a try from Gareth Davies and a penalty, a conversion and a drop-goal from Dan Biggar.
Two more Biggar penalties and a penalty and drop-goal from Pollard left Wales in front 19-18 inside the last ten minutes, but Duane Vermeulen picked up from a South Africa scrum inside the Wales 22, broke blind up the left and sent du Preez over for the winning score.
Schalk Burger – For once in this tournament, a Man of the Match award looked to be well deserved as the South African openside was prominent in the Boks’ lengthy attacking phases of rugby. He crossed the gainline 11 times – more than any other player in the match – and made 55m on the ball in all.
Dan Biggar – The Wales No 10 had another magnificent game. His outstanding kick and collect set up the first try for Davies, as he launched the ball skyward from around 40 metres out, took the catch perfectly and Davies was on hand to take the pass and cruise over the line. Biggar also kicked 14 points and missed just one, very difficult, shot at goal.
Executing under pressure – They were behind for almost the entire second half, but as the clock ticked towards the last five minutes South Africa executed an excellent attacking move from a scrum. Vermeulen picked up and went from the back, under pressure, and found du Preez in support with a brilliant pass. Pollard missed the conversion, but the try was enough.
Soft penalties – A silly obstruction from Luke Charteris allowed South Africa to reclaim the lead with a penalty immediately after Wales had gone 10-9 up and that wasn’t the only time the men in red gifted points to the Springboks. “We gave away four penalties in the first half, all of which came when we weren’t under much pressure,” said skipper Warburton. “They were the most crucial 12 points we gave away.”
Poor skills – A wayward pass from Gethin Jenkins went right over the head of Tyler Morgan and into touch when Wales were attacking in only the second minute. If the outside centre had taken the pass he would have been in for the first try, but the prop’s skills weren’t up to it, much to Jenkins’ disgust.
Bad manners – The fans have been superb at this World Cup, so it was disppointing to hear the South African contingent in the Twickenham crowd booing Biggar when he lined up a penalty in the 63rd minute. The noise didn’t put the Wales fly-half off, but it was a shame it happened at all.
528 – The number of metres South Africa made in attack. They crossed the gainline 73 times in all, compared to 231 metres made by Wales and 34 line breaks.
84 – South Africa No 8 Vermeulen topped the metres made charts in this game, with 84 metres with the ball in hand in all
100 – the number of Test appearances Alun Wyn Jones has now made, 94 for Wales and six for the Lions.
21 – Wales blindside Dan Lydiate was the top tackler in the game with 21. His back row colleagues, Warburton and Taulupe Faletau made 17 tackles each.
South Africa: W le Roux; JP Pietersen, J Kriel (J Serfontein 67), D De Allende, B Habana; H Pollard (P Lambie 76), F du Preez (capt); T Mtawarira (T Nyakane 56), B du Plessis (A Strauss 12-23 and 55), F Malherbe (J du Plessis 60), E Etzebeth, L de Jager, F Louw (W Alberts 67), S Burger, D Vermeulen.
Try: Fourie du Preez. Pens: Handre Pollard 5. Drop-goal: Pollard.
Wales: G Anscombe; A Cuthbert, T Morgan (J Hook 67), J Roberts, G North; D Biggar (R Priestland 73), G Davies (L Williams 70): G Jenkins (P James 55), S Baldwin (K Owens 56), S Lee (T Francis 55), L Charteris (B Davies 63), A-W Jones, D Lydiate (J Tipuric 67), S Warburton (capt), T Faletau.
Try: Gareth Davies. Con: Dan Biggar. Pens: Biggar 3. Drop-goal: Biggar.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Man of the Match: Schalk Burger (South Africa)