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PLAYER REVIEWS: South Africa’s physicality lifts faltering Wales in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup

South Africa battled Wales in a tight semifinal of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday to book their spot in the tournament decision-maker.

The Springboks take on England on Saturday after besieging the Welsh in the second half but failing to pull out of the determined side of Warren Gatland.

Here, Sports email rates each player from Wales and South Africa at 10 for their performance in the semi-finals …

Wales faced South Africa in Yokohoma on Sunday in a tight semi-final of the Rugby World Cup

Wales faced South Africa in Yokohoma on Sunday in a tight semi-final of the Rugby World Cup

The Springboks booked their place in the final to meet the high-flying England next Saturday

The Springboks booked their place in the final to meet the high-flying England next Saturday

The Springboks booked their place in the final to meet the high-flying England next Saturday

English coach Eddie Jones watched from the sidelines and scored his opponents for the final

English coach Eddie Jones watched from the sidelines and scored his opponents for the final

English coach Eddie Jones watched from the sidelines and scored his opponents for the final

South Africa

Willie Le Roux 6 (Steyn 69, 6.5)

Aimed by Biggar’s signature high balls and struggled to hunt Halfpenny and Adams.

S’Busiso Nkosi 6

Bit-in defense to leave room for Adam’s attempt. Smooth runner, but few opportunities.

S'Busiso Nkosi saw few opportunities to run in a slow race in the Sunday morning semifinal

S'Busiso Nkosi saw few opportunities to run in a slow race in the Sunday morning semifinal

S’Busiso Nkosi saw few opportunities to run in a slow race in the Sunday morning semifinal

Lukhanyo am 6

After five minutes, the dislocated finger plopped back into place and was barely invoked during the attack as Boks continued.

Damian the Allende 8

One of the most improved players in the world. Powered by three defenders to score a breakthrough attempt. Dominant tackles.

The Southern Hemisphere scored first, Damian de Allende passed

The Southern Hemisphere scored first, Damian de Allende passed

The Southern Hemisphere scored first, Damian de Allende passed

Makazole Mapimpi 6.5

He did his best to chase De Klerk’s field kicks, but otherwise had to carry out the leftover ball wide.

Handre Pollard 7.5

Kept his guts to kick five out of five. Casual mistakes meant he struggled to take out speedsters wide.

Faf De Klerk 7.5

Pinned Welsh back with constant kicks and bothered attackers with his high energy chase. An easy ball touched.

Tendai Mtawarira 6 (Kitschoff 48, 6.5)

No chants of ‘Beast!’, Because he didn’t touch the ball once before he was dipped in the second half. Won an early scrum penalty.

Mbongeni Mbonambi 6.5 (Marx 48, 7)

Gave a cheap penalty for knocking out Wainwright before being replaced by a more explosive presence of Marx.

Mbongeni Mbonambi did not have the performance he needs to produce against England

Mbongeni Mbonambi did not have the performance he needs to produce against England

Mbongeni Mbonambi did not have the performance he needs to produce against England

Frans Malherbe 6.5 (Koch 48, 8)

He used all of his physicality to crush the Welsh – Owens gritting in the tackle – before releasing replacement heavies.

Eben Etzebeth 6.5 (Snyman 53, 6)

Picked up Halfpenny early on as a ragdoll, but far away from 2015 when he was one of the best in the world.

Lodewyk De Jager 6.5 (Mostert 58, 6.5)

Took it into the jumper and used all 19st to punch Welsh forward – but made only 5m from five carries.

Siya Kolisi 7 (Louw 69, 7)

Constant pressure on Welsh half-backs while trying to charge kicks. Could now make history as Boks’ first black captain of the World Cup.

Pieter-Steph du Toit 9

The blueprint for the physicality of South Africa with 18 tackles and a constant nuisance with headwind in the event of the outage.

Pieter-Steph du Toit was Sportsmail's husband of the race and crushed Wales with his physicality

Pieter-Steph du Toit was Sportsmail's husband of the race and crushed Wales with his physicality

Pieter-Steph du Toit was Sportsmail’s husband of the race and crushed Wales with his physicality

Duane Vermeulen 8

South Africa’s own Thor showed his brute strength when he encountered 21st Francis and dislocated his shoulder.

TOTAL – 103.5 / 150

REPLACEMENTS – 7.5

Head coach Rassie Erasmus had so much power in the bank and used it successfully.

Wales

Leigh Halfpenny 6.5

Some good, some bad under the high bombs that South Africa constantly set up. Wales missed the injured Liam Williams.

George North 6 (Watkin 39, 6)

He pulled his hamstring unhindered while chasing a flight of stairs and was distraught as he left.

George North was forced out in the first half with an injury, a big blow to Warren Gatland

George North was forced out in the first half with an injury, a big blow to Warren Gatland

George North was forced out in the first half with an injury, a big blow to Warren Gatland

Jonathan Davies 7

Recovered the knee for this massive test and provided Adams with a nice help later.

Hadleigh Parkes 6

Little progress in midfield, as he has done in previous tests. Carried shoulder and hand injuries.

Josh Adams 7.5

Made his sixth attempt at the World Cup, potentially winning the top scorer award unless Mapimpi scores next week.

Wales scored the score with a drive from Josh Adams and the conversion of Leigh Halfpenny

Wales scored the score with a drive from Josh Adams and the conversion of Leigh Halfpenny

Wales scored the score with a drive from Josh Adams and the conversion of Leigh Halfpenny

Then Biggar 6 (Patchell 58, 7)

Couldn’t fire the Welsh attack and was taken for an hour despite kicking all his goals.

Gareth Davies 6 (T Williams 48, 7)

Unusually slow to get Wales moving in what was a football game.

Wyn Jones 7 (Carre 55, 6)

Crucial sales before he left when he was beaten by Eben Etzebeth topped off a decent night.

Ken Owens 7 (Dee 73, 6)

Cut his head into battle again – one of many with incredible resilience in this Welsh team.

Ken Owens took a bloody cut in the head, but fought on in a fighting Wales team

Ken Owens took a bloody cut in the head, but fought on in a fighting Wales team

Ken Owens took a bloody cut in the head, but fought on in a fighting Wales team

Tomas Francis 6 (Lewis 36, 6)

He seemed to have seriously injured his shoulder in dealing with Duane Vermeulen

Jake Ball 6.5 (Beard 59, 6)

Tussle with de Klerk was one of the few notable moments he had. Scrum almost stopped when he was busy.

Alun Wyn Jones 7

The emotional titan couldn’t drag his Welsh side home. This should – and probably won’t be the end – for him in a red shirt.

Alun Wyn Jones's experience and grit failed to win Wales over in the semi-finals

Alun Wyn Jones's experience and grit failed to win Wales over in the semi-finals

Alun Wyn Jones’s experience and grit failed to win Wales over in the semi-finals

Aaron Wainwright 7 (Shingler 69, 6)

Such a long career ahead, at just 22 years old, he’s one of the stars of the World Cup. Not overwhelmed by huge Boks.

Justin Tipuric 6.5

Could not release his almost unparalleled skills in the wider channels.

Ross Moriarty 6

Unable to force itself in the midst of a forest of Bok trees.

TOTAL – 98/150

REPLACEMENTS – 6

Due to injuries, the bank was called up earlier than hoped and the tide could not turn.

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