Bok fans bouncing as SA reach semis

2015-10-17 20:43
Fourie de Preez (Gallo)

Twickenham - Springboks fans at Twickenham leapt with delight as they watched South Africa come from behind to beat Wales 23-19 thanks to a late try in a roller-coaster Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

As it happened: Springboks 23-19 Wales

South Africans roared with pride and waved the national flag as the final whistle went, sending their team through to the semi-finals.

Thousands of Wales fans had made the journey along the M4 motorway to Twickenham, while South Africans did not have far to travel from their London heartlands in the west and southwest of the city.

As they entered the stadium, South Africans posed in front of a picture of president Nelson Mandela handing over the 1995 World Cup to captain Francois Pienaar.

Many Wales supporters wore yellow daffodils on their heads or skirts made from the national flag.

Springboks fans gave veteran wing Bryan Habana the biggest cheer when the teams were announced; Wales fans roared for their captain Sam Warburton.

The sides strode out to fireworks and jets of flame, before stirring renditions of the national anthem of South Africa and "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", followed by chants of "Wales! Wales!" from the fans in red.

Welsh supporters were in the majority among the 79,572 inside the home of English rugby, now without its national side as the England 2015 tournament goes through the knock-out stages.

The Welsh fans raised the roof when Gareth Davies' converted try briefly put Wales ahead.

Despite being in front for almost all of the match thus far, it was only in the 29th minute when South Africa fans sent a first chant of "Bokke! Bokke!" ringing round Twickenham.

But Wales fans were stirred into voice as the first half came to a close, with Biggar hitting the posts with a penalty, then kicking a drop goal to give Wales a 13-12 lead at the interval.

As supporters queued for a half-time lager, both sides' fans were worried about the other team.

"We're not securing the ball enough, we're giving away possession unneccessarily and Wales keep on stealing the ball," said Springboks fan Chris, from Cape Town.

"It's the quarter-finals of a World Cup in which we lost to Japan, so we can't be confident."

Meanwhile Tom, a Londoner with a Welsh mother, said: "South Africa were rightfully ahead and running the ball better.

"I'm more confident now than I was at the start. The score's about right but Wales have got to keep their discipline as the referee is blowing for anything."

In a topsy-turvy second half in which the lead repeatedly switched hands, Welsh supporters roared their team on and broke out deafening renditions of the hymn "Cwm Rhondda" when they went ahead.

But the Springboks fans were on their feet in delight when captain Fourie de Preez touched down in the 75th minute.

And a few minutes later, they were celebrating once again as the team who suffered a shock defeat to Japan in their opening match booked their place in the last four.

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