Warren Gatland: Penalty count cost Wales dear

Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted his side paid the price for conceding too many penalties as they suffered an agonising 19-16 defeat to South Africa in their World Cup semi-final.

The Springboks will face England in next Saturday's final following fly-half Handre Pollard's match-winning penalty four minutes from time.

Pollard kicked a total of 14 points and Gatland told ITV: "I'm proud of our guys. Congratulations to South Africa, I thought they played very well up front.

"We probably gave away too many penalties in our own half and that cost us dearly but I'm proud of the fact that we never gave up and got ourselves back into that game and we were in the arm wrestle.

"Two or three scrum penalties, a couple of line-out penalties are disappointing and that's the difference between the two teams.

"We punch massively above our weight when you consider the playing size of numbers in Wales so I'm really proud of these guys.

"They gave 100 per cent. It was a tough, physical South Africa team that we played against. Our guys didn't take a backward step and I can only be proud of them for that.

21 PHOTOS
Rugby World Cup: Wales v South Africa
See Gallery
Rugby World Cup: Wales v South Africa
Wales players appear dejected on the bench during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Semi Final match at International Stadium Yokohama. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Eben Etzebeth of South Africa embraces teammate S'busiso Nkosi following their team's victory in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Wales' Alun Wyn Jones during the pre match warm up before the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa's RG Snyman congratulates Vincent Koch as they win a penalty at the scrum during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa's RG Snyman and Pieter-Steph du Toit battles for possession with Wales' Justin Tipuric during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa's Duane Vermeulen looks on during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa's Eben Etzebeth looks on during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Wales' Dan Biggar is tackled by South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Duane Vermeulen of South Africa shakes hands with Referee Jerome Garces after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa's Handre Pollard with Wales' Josh Adams after their victory in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Eben Etzebeth and Lodewyk de Jager of South Africa celebrate victory and acknowledge the crowd after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa players celebrate victory and acknowledge the crowd after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: George North of Wales shakes hands with Faf de Klerk of South Africa after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: South Africa player Lood De Jager wins a lineout ball from Justin Tipuric during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales players appear dejected on the bench during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Semi Final match at International Stadium Yokohama. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Duane Vermeulen of South Africa (L) celebrates with Siya Kolisi, captain of South Africa (R) the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Faf de Klerk of South Africa juggles the ball during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Faf de Klerk of South Africa celebrates following his team's victory in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Malcom Marx of South Africa reacts during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Mbongeni Mbonambi of South Africa (L) celebrates with Tendai Mtawarira (C) and Siya Kolisi, captain of South Africa (R) during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 27: Lodewyk De Jager of South Africa celebrates following his team's victory in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"At 16-all it was pretty close and you're sort of dreaming about the three points being the other way but like I said, congratulations to South Africa and I think it will be a great final between England and South Africa."

Former South Africa winger Bryan Habana paid tribute to Pollard for his composure in kicking the winning penalty.

"I think in pressure moments the big players step up and Handre takes it back a further 15 metres and puts himself under even more pressure but that composure, you know why he's rated one of the best fly-halves in the world,"
Habana said.

"It's improved immensely over the last two years and I think South Africa are pretty lucky to have someone as accurate as that kicking for them."

He scored 14 of the 19 points for @Springboks in a tough semi-final, Handre Pollard is the @Mastercard Player of the Match for #WALvRSA#StartSomethingPriceless#POTM#RWC2019pic.twitter.com/Y74VIpvrIW

— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 27, 2019

A downcast Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones told ITV: "We stayed in the arm wrestle. I'm proud of us when we went 16-all but we probably piggy-backed the penalties down the park and South Africa took advantage so congratulations to them.

"Today we fell short but hopefully (will) get another opportunity. It wasn't our day but I'm still proud to pull this jersey on and represent all the people in red in the stadium."

Gareth Thomas, whose 100th and last Test match for Wales came in the 2007 World Cup, felt Gatland's side had given everything they could.

"I think they've put everything on the line," Thomas said. "It was a tough battle, South Africa won deservedly – you could argue Wales could have won as well. They couldn't have done any more."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS