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Classic encounters between Wales and South Africa

Warren Gatland’s side have won the last four matches between the two teams.

Wales and South Africa will renew a long-standing rivalry in the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Sunday (David Davies/PA)
Wales and South Africa will renew a long-standing rivalry in the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Sunday (David Davies/PA)

By Phil Blanche, PA

Wales and South Africa meet in the Rugby World Cup semi-final in Yokohama on Sunday.

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Game previews, plus expert insights and exclusive commentary from the Belfast Telegraph sports team.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five classic matches in a rivalry stretching back to 1906.

Wales 6 South Africa 6 (Cardiff, January 1970)

Phil Bennett (left) and Gareth Edwards (right) played key roles when Wales drew 6-6 with South Africa in January 1970 (PA)

Wales had lost their first six games to South Africa before the Springboks embarked on a 1969-70 tour of Great Britain and Ireland. Gareth Edwards was Wales’ youngest captain at just 22 and Phil Bennett made his full debut on the wing. The game went ahead despite protests against South Africa’s oppression of its black population through apartheid. Wintry conditions made running rugby impossible, but in injury time Edwards scored in the Cardiff mudbath to level the match.

Wales 29 South Africa 19 (Cardiff, June 1999)

Neil Jenkins kicked 19 points as Wales beat South Africa for the first time (David Davies/PA)

The 13th game between the two countries was unlucky for South Africa as Wales won for the first time. The Millennium Stadium hosted its first fixture with the arena being readied for the World Cup later that year. A limited capacity of 28,000 saw Rob Howley lead Wales to victory and half-back partner Neil Jenkins kick 19 points. Swansea centre Mark Taylor had the honour of scoring the first try at the new stadium.

Wales 16 South Africa 17 (Wellington, September 2011)

South Africa’s Heinrich Brussow (left) celebrates after the 17-16 win over Wales at the 2011 World Cup (David Davies/PA)

The first World Cup meeting between the two nations saw reigning holders South Africa survive a huge scare in their defence opener. Warren Gatland’s side took a 16-10 lead after 54 minutes through Toby Faletau’s try and a huge surprise looked on the cards. But Francois Hougaard’s try and Morne Steyn’s conversion killed Welsh hopes. Wales, however, would go on to reach the last four, while South Africa exited at the quarter-final stage.

Wales 19 South Africa 23 (Twickenham, October 2015)

Wales players look dejected at the end of their Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to South Africa in 2015 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Welsh hopes of another World Cup semi-final appearance in 2015 were dashed late on at Twickenham. Wales led through scrum-half Gareth Davies’ fifth try of the tournament and 14 points from Dan Biggar. But South Africa dominated the second half and pounded away at the Welsh line in the closing stages. The Springboks were rewarded when Fourie du Preez’s 75th-minute try secured a semi-final date with New Zealand.

Wales 20 South Africa 11 (Cardiff, November 18, 2018)

Winger George North powers on during Wales’ 20-11 victory over South Africa in November 2018 (David Davies/PA)

Wales chalked up a fourth successive win over South Africa – and their fifth in six games – in a bruising autumn international. Wales led 14-3 at half-time following tries for prop Tomas Francis and full-back Liam Williams. South Africa responded with a try from centre Jessie Kriel, but Biggar came off the bench to kick two late penalties. It was a ninth successive victory for Wales, their longest winning streak since 1999, and saw them complete an autumn clean sweep for the first time.



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