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Late Du Preez try sends Springboks into semis

Fourie Du Preez scores a decisive try for South Africa.

Fourie Du Preez scores a decisive try for South Africa.

Captain Fourie Du Preez’s late try sent South Africa into the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after a tense 23-19 victory over gallant Wales at Twickenham yesterday.

The Springboks produced a moment of magic six minutes from time, catching Wales napping when Duane Vermeulen peeled off the back of a scrum and the big number eight’s brilliant offload sent scrumhalf Du Preez scampering over in the corner.

Twice winners South Africa, who were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Australia in 2011 and began this tournament with a shock defeat by Japan, will meet holders New Zealand who beat France 62-13 last night.

“It was an awesome feeling, it was tight game, I’m just de-lighted,” said Du Preez.

“We just needed to keep pushing, I could see some of their guys lying down. We’ve got two more games, we’ve learned from the Japan game.”

Flyhalf Handre Pollard kicked five penalties and a drop goal for the Springboks with Dan Biggar landing 14 points for the Welsh, whose brave defensive effort came up just short.

Wales showed more creativity than in their final pool defeat to Australia a week ago, scoring a fine first-half try through Gareth Davies, but their injury-hit tournament finally caught up with them.

“Gutted not to get through but we can leave the pitch with no regrets,” said Wales captain Sam Warburton.

“It was back and forth all match and we knew it would come down to fine margins or the last five minutes.”

A brutal contest was surprisingly open from the start, although it developed into a cagey and tense affair.

With both sides tiring and somewhat ragged, the decisive moment came moments after an angry Biggar trudged off remonstrating with his own medical staff.

Wales appeared to lose concentration in the ensuing scrum in their own 22 and Du Preez pounced to secure the semi-final place.

• Scotland forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray have been cleared to play in the quarter-final against Australia after winning their appeals against suspensions for foul play.

Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Argentina, after aggravating his groin problem in training on Friday.

Other quarter-final
New Zealand vs France - 62-13

Today’s fixtures
14.00 Ireland vs Argentina
17.00 Australia vs Scotland

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