Wales started the stronger of the two teams and nearly went over in the corner within the first five minutes but were unable to penetrate the resolute Springbok defence. Both teams then resorted to kicking games and it was South Africa who edged ahead through the boot of Pollard.
No team was able to get a strangle hold on the game and the lead was never more than a couple of points for very long. Dan Biggar single handedly dragged Wales into the game and helped them into a slender one point lead at half time.
With the Welsh restricting South Africa to limited chances to cross the white wash the kicking was all important. Pollard restored the Springbok lead with a penalty early in the second half, but that did not knock the Welsh who kept coming back.
With Wales leading by a point with only 5 minutes to go South Africa managed to break Welsh hearts when Du Preez went down the blind side from a scrum and went over in the corner. Pollard missed the conversion but South Africa held on and won the game.
The Springboks will now meet New Zealand next Saturday in a semi final that will see the southern hemisphere have at least one team in the Rugby World Cup Final.
Coach Heyneke Meyer said:
“It feels like I still need some oxygen. I thank the Lord for we have been blessed. I want to thank the people back home. Since the Japan game the support has been unbelievable and we have got tears in our eyes.”
He added about Fourie Du Preez scoring the winning try:
“I would like to kiss Fourie. I have always said coaching is overrated. You have to pick players with character and who perform under pressure. If you put pressure on charcoal it turns to diamonds.”
“Fourie was brilliant. But I also want to take my hat off to the youngsters. To keep Wales out defensively was brilliant. I would go to war with them.”
South Africa will need to raise their game even further if they want to make the final. The powerful pack performed in the second half and the younger players played their part. Even though they have progressed they now face the biggest test in the form of the All Blacks. However they are in a semi final and it will be a great occasion.