The week started with loose forward Josh Navidi being ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury sustained against France in the quarter-final, and the misery was compounded as full-back Liam Williams’ RWC was ended with an ankle injury in training.
This is added to the bad luck that Warren Gatland’s side have had over the past few months, as Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Anscombe and Cory Hill all succumbed to injury before the tournament started (although Hill did travel to Japan).
Despite this, some Welsh fans on social media remain buoyant and hopeful about their chances this weekend. Gatland had emphasised before the tournament that this squad has the most depth of any during his eleven-year tenure in charge and that is shown by his selection.
To be able to call upon Ross Moriarty and Leigh Halfpenny to replace Navidi and Williams only goes to show that Wales have barely been weakened. In fact, Gatland himself has said that the Scarlets full-back was in contention to play anyway.
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He said: “We had a long debate about whether we started Leigh in the first place and potentially move Liam to the wing. There was a long discussion about that so Leigh was probably unlucky he was not in the team in the first place. We are disappointed for a world-class player like Liam, but we are happy bringing in someone with the experience of Leigh.”
With Jonathan Davies, who missed the quarter-final with a knee injury, returning to the side to partner Hadleigh Parkes, who has had injuries worries of his own, this is the good news to counter the torrent the bad news that has come the way of Wales this week.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 25, 2019
Having both Parkes and Davies on the field is a major boost to fans, although they must remain tentative as Davies was originally named to start against France.
Gatland and Shaun Edwards have built a team that thrives when they are up against it and there is still the belief that they can make history. This is what has been said:
Looks like a great team come on wales!!
— Tyrone H (@TyroneH19261513) October 25, 2019
Phew! Parkes and JD fit
— Griffly16 (@griffly16) October 25, 2019
— leah thomas (@leah1693) October 25, 2019
— IvorBrynMike (@IvorBrynMike) October 25, 2019
???????? Gatland said pre World Cup that this was the strongest SQUAD he has had during his time as Wales coach. And when you’ve got Halfpenny coming in for Williams you know he wasn’t wrong! https://t.co/oM05NKcH4Y
— Beth Fisher (@BethFisherSport) October 25, 2019
Out of injuries, the best team. C'mom Welsh. ??????????????????. I believe that.
— Luiz Luna (@gabyeluiz) October 25, 2019
Another blow but adversity is our middle name.
— IAIN GOODWIN (@yrhaul) October 25, 2019
The Springboks will enter this game as firm favourites, but it must be noted that Wales have won five of the last six encounters between the two teams – and all four since the 2015 RWC.
They would have undoubtedly had injury problems in those past matches and there is no better coach than Gatland to get the best out of a team in whatever circumstances are dealt.
WATCH: Jim Hamilton discusses semi-finals weekend at the World Cup in the latest episode of Don’t Mess With Jim
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