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Springboks Edge Wales to Reach RWC Final

South Africa will play England in this year’s Rugby World Cup final after seeing off Wales in a close semi-final

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

South Africa have made it to the Rugby World Cup final with a marginal 19-16 win over Wales in the semi-finals in Japan this morning.

The game was tight from start to finish as both sides looked to reach the final, but the men in green were able to come out on top in an arm wrestle thanks to the boot of fly-half Handre Pollard. 

Both sides started well as they traded blows earlier, however, it was the Boks that took the lead a quarter of an hour in a Pollard slotted over a perfect penalty kick. 

That lead lasted only a couple of minutes as Wales charged forward from the restart and were rewarded with a penalty of their own. This time Dan Biggar stepped up and kicked a lovely three-pointer beside the left-hand touchline. 

The scoreboard changed once more on 20 minutes as Pollard kicked another penalty following a great scrum by his pack. 

The game became scrappy over the next ten minutes as the two sides kicked from one end of the pitch to the next, but it was the Springboks who stretched their lead on 34 minutes as Pollard continued his 100% record from the tee after Wales conceded yet another penalty. 

Things got worse for Wales before the end of the half as both Tomas Franicis and George North were forced off through injury. 

Despite their losses it was the men in red that got the final points of the half as Biggar kicked his second penalty of the game to make it 9-6 to South Africa come the whistle. 

After the break Wales pushed on and got themselves level five minutes into the half as Biggar smashed over a long-range penalty from the right of the posts to make it 9-9. 

However, a couple of minutes before the hour mark it was the Springboks that struck as they went through the phases before receiving a penalty advantage, with that in mind they spread the ball out left where Damien de Allende barged through several tacklers to touch down. Pollard converted with a brilliant kick from the left-wing to make it 16-9. 

Five minutes later and Wales camped in the Boks 22, going through 20 phases before being awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Captain Alun Wyn Jones made a massive call to go for a scrum instead of taking the easy three points from a kick. 

That bold call was rewarded as they broke left from the scrum before Jonathan Davies drew in the defenders and sending a perfect pass to winger Josh Adams who went over for his sixth try of the tournament. With Biggar now off the pitch Leigh Halfpenny stepped up to take the conversion and he made no mistake to draw the two teams level once again at 16-16. 

As the clock ticked on Wales looked the more likely side to score, although it was the opposition that got what proved to be a vital score as the Boks were given a penalty on the left-hand side of the pitch, with Pollard smashing it through the posts from long-range with four minutes remaining. 

That was the final score of the game as the Springboks narrowly made their way through another semi-final with a 19-16 victory.

The result means that they will now face England in the World Cup final next Saturday, while for Wales they will have to prepare for the third-place play-off against New Zealand the day before.

Player Ratings

Wales Starting XV:

Leigh Halfpenny (8), George Northn (6), Jonathan Davies (7), Hadleigh Parkes (6), Josh Adams (7), Dan Biggar (7), Gareth Davies (6), Ross Moriarty (7), Justin Tipuric (6), Aaron Wainwright (7), Alun Wyn Jones (7), Jake Ball (6), Tomas Francis (6), Ken Owens (7), Wyn Jones (7)

Replacements (7)

South Africa Starting XV:

Willie le Roux (5), Sbu Nkosi (6), Lukanyo Am (6), Damian de Allende (8), Makazole Mapimpi (6), Handre Pollard (9), Faf de Klerk (8), Duane Vermeulen (7), Pieter-Steph du Toit (7), Siya Kolisi (7), Lood de Jager (7), Eben Etzebeth (6), Frans Malherbe (7), Bongi Mbonambi (6), Tendai Mtawarira (6)

Replacements (7)

Rugby World Cup

Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.

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World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video

While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.

The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.  

The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions. 

World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.

Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.  

Statement Ends.

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Rugby World Cup

RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.

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Confirmed.

How the draw worked

As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.


Draw seedings

Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.

The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.

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Rugby World Cup

Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023

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Image from World Rugby
  • Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
  • 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
  • RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France


World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.

With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.

The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.

RWC 2023 qualification principles

  • Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
  • Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2 
  • Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
  • Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
    The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
  • Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
  • Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner


Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.

“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.

“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.

“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”

Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.

“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”

Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.

Official Press Release from World Rugby

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