Wales vs South Africa team news: Leigh Halfpenny replaces injured Liam Williams as Jonathan Davies returns to starting XV

Williams has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament with an ankle injury

Samuel Lovett
Tokyo
Friday 25 October 2019 02:45
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Rugby World Cup: Wales in profile

Wales will be without full-back Liam Williams for Sunday’s semi-final against South Africa after being ruled out for the remainder of the Rugby World Cup – though the return of Jonathan Davies at centre comes as a boost for Warren Gatland’s men.

The 28-year-old, who has won 62 caps and started all Wales’ World Cup games except one, picked up an ankle injury in an “accidental collision” during training this week.

“His prognosis will be established in the forthcoming days,” the Welsh Rugby Union said in a statement on Friday morning. “No replacement has been called up at this stage.”

Leigh Halfpenny, Wales’ third highest record points scorer, fills his place at full-back for the Yokohama showdown.

Williams joins Josh Navidi as Wales’ latest injury casualty, with the forward also unavailable for the rest of the tournament due to a hamstring injury. The No 8 is replaced by Ross Moriarty.

Meanwhile, Davies is back in action after initial concerns over his fitness, bringing with him 79 caps’ worth of experience to the midfield.

The 31-year-old missed the quarter-final victory over France because of a knee problem suffered in the Pool D victory over Fiji, but the Scarlets man returns to replace Owen Watkin, partnering Hadleigh Parkes in the centre.

Elsewhere, scrum-half Gareth Davies will win his 50th cap, lining up alongside Dan Biggar at half-back.

Gatland retains the same front-five who have served him well at the tournament, with skipper Alun Wyn Jones making his 142nd Test appearance for Wales and the Lions.

That puts him level with Italy captain Sergio Parisse on international rugby's all-time appearance chart, just six Tests behind New Zealand World Cup-winning skipper Richie McCaw.

Wales squad

Starting XV: 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (84 Caps), 14. George North (Ospreys) (90 Caps), 13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (79 Caps), 12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (23 Caps), 11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (19 Caps), 10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (77 Caps), 9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (49 Caps), 1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (20 Caps), 2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (71 Caps), 3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (47 Caps), 4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (40 Caps), 5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (132 Caps) (CAPT), 6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (17 Caps), 7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (70 Caps), 8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (39 Caps).

Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons) (27 Caps), 17. Rhys Carre (Saracens) (4 Caps)18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (20 Caps)19. Adam Beard (Ospreys) (18 Caps)20. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (24 Caps)21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) (14 Caps)22. Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) (17 Caps)23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (20 Caps).

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