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Five things we learned from Wales v South Africa

Published 17/10/2015

Wales' Daniel Biggar has enjoyed a stellar World Cup
Wales' Daniel Biggar has enjoyed a stellar World Cup

Wales crashed out of the Rugby World Cup in agonising fashion as a late South Africa try earned the Springboks a 23-19 win at Twickenham.

Here, Press Association Sport takes at look at five things we learned from the match.


If the British and Irish Lions were picking their Test fly-half on the strength of performances at England 2015, Dan Biggar would be the outstanding choice. The 26-year-old has been superb all tournament and against South Africa he excelled once again. Some loosing kicking out of hand aside, it was hard to fault the playmaker and his kick and catch set-up Wales' only try for Gareth Davies.


Wales' reliance on a power game based on unleashing waves of ball carriers - dubbed 'Warrenball' after their head coach Warren Gatland - is clearly ebbing. The likes of Jamie Roberts, George North and Toby Faletau are still used to punch holes - Roberts became more involved as the match progressed - but Davies' presence at scrum-half has brought greater speed of thought to the Welsh game.


Before the World Cup it was thought that Wales could field a strong 23 capable of mixing it with any opponent, but lacked depth if injury struck. That myth has been exploded during a tournament in which 10 backs have been lost to the treatment room - among them Lions Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies - yet Gatland's men still emerged from the hardest of pools and stood toe to toe with South Africa in a nail-biting quarter-final.


England must have watched the performances of South Africa's Schalk Burger and Sam Warburton of Wales wondering what has happened to the Red Rose production line that once produced opensides of the calibre of Peter Winterbottom, Richard Hill and Neil Back. Man of the match Burger was so good that he could spend most of the match at first receiver and still run the hard yards, while Warburton produced turnover after turnover.


The shock upset by Japan on the opening day of the World Cup - the biggest upset in rugby history - was a distant memory as South Africa seized their place in the semi-finals. This was the match that would reveal the Springboks' chances of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup and they came through impressively, finishing strongly with a big impact made by their bench.

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