We can beat South Africa – Warburton

Date published: October 10 2015

Captain Sam Warburton insists Wales are confident they can beat the Springboks in next weekend's Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Wales will face South Africa at Twickenham having lost to Australia's in Saturday's Pool A decider at the same venue, but the Welsh skipper says last November's victory over the two-time World Champions means they do not fear the Boks.

"We beat South Africa eleven months ago," said Warburton.

"The game before that out there, we performed extremely well and could easily come away with the win then if it wasn't for one incident.

"So even if we were down initially (after the loss to Australia) the players are already looking forward to next week. We've still got a quarter-final against a side that we've beaten in the past twelve months and we can take massive confidence from that."

Warburton stood by his decision to chase a try when three points were on offer against the Wallabies. 

"It's a hot topic now. We felt we needed a try to beat Australia. We were six points behind and two penalties would have brought us to a draw. They were a man or two down, so any country would have backed themselves to go over.

"You have to put your hands up and say they defended really well. At least I can sit here with no regrets. I thought we got extemely close a few times and backed ourselves to go for the corner.

"You have to give Australia a lot of credit there. I am happy, though, it was a tryless performance against one of the best attacking teams in the world."

Wales coach Warren Gatland echoed his captian's thoughts in praising Australia. 

"I thought it was courageous defence by Australia," said Gatland. 

"We got over their line three times and were held up. It is just fine margins. If Dan Biggar kicks before half-time it's 9-6 and maybe your mentality changes.

"The boys will have a day off tomorrow and Monday is a recovery day as well. The guys know how close that was. What was pleasing for me was in the changing room the guys are already focussed on next week. The focus will purely be winning that quarter-final."

Gatland admitted that Wales had specifically tried to use the choke tackle to slow the Wallaby attack down. 

"It was a strategy for today. We talked during the week about what was effective slowing the Austalian ball down because they are a potent attacking side," said Gatland.  

"It negated some of their attacking strengths and I thought we did that fantastically today."

Gatland was surprised to see Australian captain Stephen Moore doing a lot of talking to the referee when the Wallabies were down to 13 men.

"He was quite comfortable talking to the ref as much as he could to wind down the clock," said Gatland. 

"If you are a captain as a hooker you are right there in front of the ref and we were conscious when (Will) Genia was off, the clock was winding down at scrum time.

"I can't really comment on referees otherwise I will get a huge fine. I will probably try to get my feedback back to World Rugby. 

"In fairness, Australia have done a great job of defending. We created chances and didn't finish them off but you have got to give Australia some credit for heroic defence."