Rugby | South Africa defeat Wales to reach World Cup final

South Africa have beaten Wales 19-16 to reach the Rugby World Cup final.

Handre Pollard’s late penalty secured a narrow victory for the Springboks in Yokohama, who will now face England in the final next Saturday.

Josh Adams had scored his sixth try of the tournament to draw Wales level in the second half, with Damian de Allende registering South Africa’s only try of the game early in the second half.

The Springboks led 9-6 at half time following a tight, suffocating first half at Nissan Stadium.

An evenly balanced first half was dominated by both team’s kicking game, with very few dangerous attacks in the opening 40 minutes.

South Africa notched the game’s first points in the 15th minute, with Handre Pollard splitting the posts with a penalty after an infringement by Justin Tipuric.

Dan Biggar kicked Wales level from a penalty minutes later after a high tackle on Josh Adams.

Pollard converted his second penalty in the 20th minute to restore South Africa’s lead.

The Springboks extended their lead to six points in the 34th minute through another Pollard penalty after Ken Owens was penalized for going in from the side.

Wales lost Tomas Francis to a shoulder injury soon afterwards, with Dillon Lewis coming on in his place.

Warren Gatland’s men were awarded a penalty late in the first half after a high tackle on Aaron Wainwright.

Biggar nailed his kick to reduce South Africa’s lead to 9-6 at the interval.

Wales had 59% possession in the first half, but found themselves behind at the half-way point.

South Africa had won 32 of their previous 34 games when leading at half time, but Wales were in no mood to lie down.

Biggar’s third penalty of the game drew Wales level four minutes after the restart after an offside by South Africa.

South Africa scored the game’s first try in the 56th minute after intense pressure from the Springboks.

De Allende powered past Biggar to cross the whitewash following Willie le Roux’s pass.

Pollard converted to make it 16-9.

Gatland introduced Rhys Patchell for Biggar as Wales looked for an instant response.

Wales responded admirably to the setback, and went through 21 phases of play before recording a try of their own just five minutes after de Allende’s try.

Adams went over in the corner after Wales moved the ball quickly from a scrum, becoming the tournament’s outright top try-scorer on six tries.

Leigh Halfpenny converted to tie the game at 16 points apiece.

With five minutes remaining, South Africa disrupted the Wales lineout and forced a scrum deep in the Wales half.

The Springboks’ pressure soon led to a penalty, which Pollard sent over to make it 19-16.

Pollard kicked the ball to touch in the 80th minute to secure victory.

It was South Africa’s power rather than their creativity which carried them through, but the Springboks won’t care.

Erasmus’ men held on to set up a meeting with England – who defeated New Zealand in last night’s other semi-final – next Saturday in a repeat of the 2007 final.