Cheslin Kolbe out for World Cup semi-final against Wales

South Africa's wing Cheslin Kolbe reacts after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Italy at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa in Shizuoka on October 4, 2019.

File: South Africa's star winger Cheslin Kolbe.


TOKYO - South Africa's star winger Cheslin Kolbe has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales with an ankle injury on Thursday, forcing the Springboks to replace him for Sunday's game.

Kolbe hobbled off after twisting an ankle in South Africa's 49-3 pool win against Italy and was far from his electric best against Japan in the quarter-finals, where he looked in discomfort again.

S'Busiso Nkosi replaces Kolbe on the right, with flyer Makazole Mapimpi, who is the tournament's joint top try-scorer with five so far, on the other wing.

Coach Rassie Erasmus again put six forwards on the bench, suggesting the Springboks will continue their strategy of dragging opposition teams into an arm-wrestle up front.

READ: Rugby World Cup: Japan v SA quarter-final match-ups

South Africa produced a performance of overwhelming forward dominance against Japan, outplaying the hosts in the set-piece and driving them back powerfully in defence for their 26-3 win.

The Springboks enjoy an unbeaten record against Wales in World Cup matches but they have always been cliffhangers.

They beat the Welsh 17-16 in a pool match in 2011 and then edged a quarter-final in 2015, running out 23-19 winners.

In the 2015 match, it was Fourie du Preez who broke Welsh hearts with a 75th-minute try after Wales had led going into the final 10 minutes.


Fly-half Handre Pollard kicked five penalties and a drop-goal for the Boks, while Dan Biggar, also the current number 10 for Wales, scored 14 points and produced a try assist for Gareth Davies.

The Springboks have won 28 of the 35 games the two sides have played since their inaugural match in 1906, Wales winning just six, with one draw.

But Wales have had the better of recent encounters, winning five of the last six. 

Wales coach Warren Gatland was scheduled to name his team on Friday.


South Africa (15-1): 

Willie Le Roux; S'Busiso Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn