It was as unrelentingly physical and kick-dominated as we knew it would be. Wales held up well in the scrum and the lineout but, in the end, were worn down by the Springboks and couldn’t make it a fairytale finale for Warren Gatland.
Despite being wrecked by injuries, Wales put out a strong team that pushed South Africa all the way. More injuries during the game, however, meant it was just a bridge too far.
We rate the full squad below. A number of exciting young players mean the future is full of hope for Wales, even if the present is disappointing.
15. Leigh Halfpenny – 7
As steady as ever under the high ball and kicked his goal under huge pressure. A classy player but the feeling remains that Liam Williams would have offered more in attack.
14. George North – 7
Looked determined not to let the game go by without making an impact and got involved as much as possible, even chasing down a kick when he had already pulled up injured. Had to go off just before half-time.
13. Jonathan Davies – 8
Restored to the starting line-up and showed what was missing. Crucial in attack and defence and brought Josh Adams into the game a bit more, including the assist for his try.
12. Hadleigh Parkes – 6
A couple of important interventions but didn’t look fit and couldn’t make the impact he needed.
11. Josh Adams – 7
Showed again why he is so highly rated in the Wales camp, putting in a defensive shift and scoring his side’s only try. Helped by the return of Jon Davies inside him.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 27, 2019
10. Dan Biggar – 6
His goal-kicking kept Wales in it but his kicks from hand weren’t as effective as they needed to be. Wales looked better when Patchell came on.
9. Gareth Davies – 5
Not his best game. Outshone by his opposite number, whose box-kicking was far superior.
1. Wyn Jones – 7
Part of a Welsh scrum that held up well. The set-piece is rarely a strength for Wales but he prevented it being too much of a weakness.
2. Ken Owens – 7
The lineout was better again, despite the quality of the opposition, but it wasn’t enough. Stayed on the field for more than 70 minutes and fought every second.
3. Tomas Francis – 6
Had to go off after 35 minutes but had been part of a big defensive effort before that and held up the Welsh scrum.
4. Jake Ball – 7
Looked up for the fight, at times literally, and brought some much-needed physicality to Wales’ efforts.
5. Alun-Wyn Jones (capt) – 9
Not all sports icons get to go out the way they deserve. Jones may yet carry on playing but it is a shame we will not see him in the final. As always, he was immense here.
6. Aaron Wainwright – 7
Emptied the tank but didn’t have quite the success he had previously. A huge talent for the future.
7. Justin Tipuric – 7
Gave it everything he had. A little unlucky to give away one penalty at the breakdown, perhaps, but missed his back row partner Josh Navidi badly.
8. Ross Moriarty – 6
Had big shoes to fill given the contribution Josh Navidi had made and kept his discipline, which was always going to be the concern. Couldn’t make quite the impact that was needed.
Elliot Dee – 6
Limited time to make an impact and not really his job. A promising player, however.
Rhys Carré – 7
Dillon Lewis – 7
Came on earlier than expected but kept up the work in the scrum. Another bright hope for the future.
Adam Beard – 6
This experience will have been hugely valuable for him. Couldn’t quite combat the strength of South Africa’s bench.
Aaron Shingler – 5
Back in his bench role but this time covering the back row. A good player but not quite enough for a semi-final.
Tomos Williams – 7
Came on earlier than usual and made an impact. Surely the future starting scrumhalf.
Rhys Patchell – 7
Drop goal effort was a bit ambitious but Wales looked far better once he came on. It seemed a little odd that he didn’t come on sooner, when North went off, to provide some spark but the physicality of Watkin was preferred.
Owen Watkin – 5
Wouldn’t have expected to come on just before half time on the wing rather than in the centre. Didn’t let anyone down but didn’t have the spark that was needed.
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