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Liam Williams set to miss World Cup semi-final with ankle injury – reports

The Saracens star is understood to have suffered an ankle injury during training.

Liam Williams could miss Wales’ World Cup semi-final against South Africa (David Davies/PA)
Liam Williams could miss Wales’ World Cup semi-final against South Africa (David Davies/PA)

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent, Tokyo

Wales look set to be without full-back Liam Williams for their World Cup semi-final against South Africa on Sunday.

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Saracens star Williams suffered an ankle injury during training, according to reports.

The PA news agency has contacted the Welsh Rugby Union for comment. The Wales team to face South Africa is due to be announced on Friday at 0330 BST.

Williams, who has won 62 caps, is an integral part of Wales’ World Cup assault, and his absence would be a huge blow.

Should the 28-year-old be ruled out of Sunday’s game, then Scarlets full-back Leigh Halfpenny is likely to replace him.

Experienced Halfpenny has made one start in the tournament so far – against final pool stage opponents Uruguay – and he went on as a replacement against Georgia.

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Leigh Halfpenny will start at full-back if Williams fails to recover from the ankle injury (Adam Davy/PA)

He is Wales’ third-highest points scorer in Test history behind Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones.

Williams, meanwhile, was in contention for a remarkable individual grand slam this year.

He helped Wales land the Six Nations title in March, then shone when Saracens won the Heineken Champions Cup and Gallagher Premiership, and he was chasing World Cup glory in Japan.

But his World Cup ambitions might now be over, depriving Wales of arguably the northern hemisphere’s finest attacking full-back.

Wales lost back-row forward Josh Navidi from the tournament after he suffered a hamstring injury during last weekend’s 20-19 quarter-final victory over France.

Ross Moriarty, who scored a late try in that game, is set to replace him in the back-row against South Africa, lining up alongside flankers Aaron Wainwright and Justin Tipuric.

Wales have been waiting on centre Jonathan Davies following a knee injury sustained against Fiji a fortnight ago.

Williams’ British and Irish Lions Test team-mate missed the France game, although Wales have been making positive noises about him this week.

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South Africa wing Cheslin Kolbe (left) will miss the World Cup semi-final with an ankle injury (Adam Davy/PA)

Owen Watkin deputised for Davies against Les Bleus, partnering Hadleigh Parkes in midfield.

South Africa, meanwhile, have lost the services of wing Cheslin Kolbe on Sunday due to an ankle injury.

And if Williams misses out it would deprive the showpiece occasion in Yokohama of two box-office stars.

PA

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