The Springboks have defeated Wales 19-16 in the second semi-final to book a date with England in the final next week.
It was a tight arm wrestle for the vast majority of the contest – truly one for the purists. Penalty goals dominated the scoring with just one try apiece; a clutch kick from Handre Pollard in the 75th minute proving to be the difference between the two sides.
South Africa were first to score with Pollard slotting a penalty in the 14th minute. Dan Biggar and Pollard went back and forth throughout the first 40, the halftime score being 9-6 in favour of South Africa.
The Springboks started the second half slowly. Uncharacteristic errors by Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux put them under unnecessary pressure, before Biggar levelled the scores at 9-all in the 46th minute.
South African centre Damian de Allende broke the deadlock with a magnificent effort to score out wide in the 56th minute.
He carried the ball in both hands which put the Wales defenders in two minds, after which he dummied and fended his way over the line.
Wales were gifted with an absolute mountain of possession shortly after. A penalty against South Africa saw the Welsh with a line out throw on the five-metre line.
After 21 phases with the ball (and doing absolutely nothing with it), Wales received a penalty, and skipper Alun Wyn Jones made the brave call to pack down against this monster Springboks forward pack five metres out from the line.
The Boks pushed back hard, but a simple through the hands play saw Josh Adams cross in the corner for Wales in the 65th minute. Locked up at 16-all, extra time looked a likely possibility.
Wales had a great chance to set up for a field goal off the back of a penalty against Francois Louw. They won the line out 35m out, but South Africa forced them back with some brutal defence.
Eventually, Biggar was forced to take the shot from a bad position and did not even get close. The wind had left the Welsh sails – now South Africa were looking for their chance.
A penalty against Wales gave the Boks a piggyback downfield in the 75th minute. A collapsed maul gifted them another penalty, from which Handre Pollard added the three match-winning points, seeing South Africa through to their third Rugby World Cup final.
For Wales, they will face an equally disappointed New Zealand side who were unexpectedly dominated by England in the first semi-final.
For South Africa, it’s onwards and upwards as they face England in a rematch from the 2007 tournament, which should be an absolute cracker.