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Davies and Wales set sights on New Zealand after semi-final loss

Davies and Wales set sights on New Zealand after semi-final loss

Jonathan Davies was dejected after the defeat to South Africa. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

  • Wales lost 19-16 in the semi-final to South Africa
  • They take on New Zealand in the third place play-off on Friday
  • A victory would equal Wales' best performance at a World Cup

It will take a while for the disappointment to subside but the chance to create history will drive this Welsh team on, according to Jonathan Davies.

The Grand Slam champions narrowly missed out on setting up an all-Guinness Six Nations World Cup final as they went down 19-16 to South Africa in Yokohama on Sunday.

Handre Pollard’s penalty four minutes from time ended up being the difference between the sides.

Davies, who was back after missing the quarter-final win over France with a knee injury, was understandably devastated by the defeat.

But he has urged the team to bounce back against New Zealand in the third place play-off as they look beat the All Blacks for the first time under Warren Gatland in the coach’s final game in charge.

Davies said: “Congratulations to South Africa but as a squad we are hurting right now. It’s a tough one to take…

“Gats said he can’t fault the effort and the hard work we put in. Everyone is hurting right now but there was a focus to shift our focus now to the game coming up.

“There’s a chance to get a medal from this tournament, and what this group has done and achieve, it warrants us to come together and make sure we give our all in this last week.

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“It’s our last game as a 31 as well. The staff too. This squad will never be together ever again. The determination now will change to really go out there and still create a bit of history on our part. We still have a chance to get a medal out of this.”

Wales pushed South Africa to the limit in the semi-final, twice pulling back leads in a tight affair, with the teams level heading into the final ten minutes.

In the end though, South Africa’s forward power told as they got the better of the physical encounter.

Davies added: “We felt we were in that arm wrestle all game. It was a tight Test match. It wasn’t a free-flowing game, it was an arm wrestle.

“A couple of errors on our part in the first half gave them some field position. A couple of decisions didn’t go our way, but the effort we put in, maybe we just needed to be a little bit more accurate with the ball. This is one of those games, decided by fine margins.”

Wales take on the All Blacks in Tokyo looking to equal their best-ever result at a World Cup, which came all the way back in the first tournament in 1987 when they beat Australia to finish third.