Wales were dealt a World Cup hammer blow before Sunday’s semi-final against South Africa with star fullback Liam Williams ruled out for the rest of the tournament through injury.
Coach Warren Gatland named Leigh Halfpenny as his replacement on Friday after Williams damaged his ankle in a collision during training in midweek.
Williams, who has 62 caps for Wales, has no chance of returning in time for the final against New Zealand or England should the Six Nations champions overcome the Springboks in Yokohama this weekend.
The Springboks, too, were hit with an injury.
Talisman Cheslin Kolbe was ruled out through injury, forcing the Springboks to replace him on the wing with S’Bu Nkosi.
Kolbe hobbled off after twisting an ankle in the 49-3 pool win against Italy and was in discomfort again in the quarter-finals, when South Africa broke the hearts of host nation Japan.
“It’s a big blow because everybody knows his quality and the contribution he makes,” South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said Thursday.
While South Africa, whose only win over Wales in their last six meetings came in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals, will miss Kolbe’s explosiveness, Erasmus was quick to point out that Nkosi was no slouch, with eight tries in ten Tests to his name.
Wales vs South Africa: Rugby World Cup kick-off time and prediction
Kick off time: Steady away with things kicking off at 10:00 SAST on Sunday 27 October 2019. All the action is live on SuperSport 1.
the RWC, we’ll be using a prediction algorithm from a New Zealand anorak.
Prediction: The algortihm favours the Boks, by a marginal 11 points.
Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright; Alun Wyn Jones, Jake Ball; Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin
South Africa (15-1):
Willie Le Roux; S’Busiso Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn
RWC 2019 live scores and result: Wales vs South Africa
Additional reporting by AFP/World Rugby.