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No Cigar: Rugby World Cup Semi Finals Day Two

27th October 2019

Wales came into this semi-final on a five match winning streak against South Africa. It's over.

Semi Finals Day Two

Wales 16-19 South Africa

As England’s smaller and less celebrated neighbour, Wales is accustomed to underdog status on the world stage. Coming into this weekend, Wales were outsiders of the four teams left in the tournament. This time, the bookmakers got it right.

A tight, attritional game was settled by a Handre Pollard penalty with four minutes to play, leaving Wales on the wrong end of an agonisingly narrow knockout defeat for the third World Cup in a row.

Underdog status also applies to language, for both Wales and South Africa. One Welsh person in five speaks their native tongue. That’s approximately the same ratio of South Africans who speak Zulu. But in both countries, English is the dominant language of business. Each of today’s semi-finalists was relishing the prospect of proving a point against England next Saturday, but only one of them can. It’s not going to be Wales. Close, but no cigar.


In 2007 the Prince William Cup was created to mark a century of test matches between these two teams. South Africa were reigning world champions at that time and won the next ten contests, but until today the trophy had been in Welsh hands since 2014. This defeat ended a run of five Wales wins in a row, their best ever streak against the Springboks.


Wales (6) 16

Try: Adam

Con: Halfpenny

Pens: Biggar (3)

South Africa (9) 19

Try: De Allende

Con: Pollard

Pens: Pollard (4)


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