In a semi-final of attrition in Yokohama South Africa earned a 19-16 victory over Wales due to Handre Pollard’s pinpoint kicking when the two teams battled into the final of the Rugby World Cup.
Since 2007 Pollard starred to take into their first World Cup final the Springboks with Eddie Jones – England coach following his side’s dominant display against New Zealand watching on from the stands.
Before the hour a try from Damian de Allende put South Africa in the lead following an exchange of penalties between Dan Biggar and Pollard – the equally composed.
Although Warren Gatland’s side could not craft another opening despite a spell of pressure, Josh Adams – the tournament’s leading try-scorer powered over to pull Wales level soon after.
It was Pollard who send South Africa through to their third World Cup final, waiting for a rematch of their showdown 12 years ago. After a foul at the maul with England he punted a long-range penalty through the uprights and settled it.
In Sunday’s meeting with a three-pointer in the 15th minute South Africa’s fly-half nosed the Springboks ahead and Pollard had stressed that the importance kicking would play.
Wales swiftly restored parity, Willie Le Roux was penalised for offside before Biggar sending a pinpoint effort from out on the left flank through the posts.
Some of the slick play which has made them such a force in Japan started to demonstrate by South Africa with Pollard having re-established their lead. Another Pollard penalty doubled the Springboks’ advantage before Adams deny Faf de Klerk driving clear by making a crucial tackle.
As half-time approached Wales were dealt a double injury blow, Biggar did nudge Gatland’s side back within three points though George North pulled up with an apparent hamstring strain after Tom Francis forced off.
South Africa made a breakthrough after half-time Biggar levelled matters shortly by taking advantage of De Klerk’s error. When Pollard who duly added the extras created a break, De Allende powered over in the corner following from it.