Liam Williams out as Wales name side to face Boks

Liam Williams out as Wales name side to face Boks

Wales fullback Liam Williams has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

Liam Williams / Odd ANDERSEN / AFP
Liam Williams / Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

Williams reportedly picked up an ankle injury in training this week and the setback has cost him a spot in the semifinal.

While Wales have lost their star fullback they have welcome imposing outside centre Jonathan Davies back into the team. Davies has been struggling with a knee injury and was in doubt to be selected earlier this week.

All in all Wales have made three changes to the team that knocked France out of the World Cup last weekend. 

Davies inclusion in the starting XV sees Owen Watkin drop to the bench, Leigh Halfpenny takes the place of the injured Williams while Ross Moriarty starts at number 8 after Josh Navidi’s tournament was ended by a hamstring injury picked up in their win over France.

Wales coach Warren Gatland says the loss of Williams has been mitigated somewhat by the experience that Halfpenny brings to the table.

"He is undoubtedly a big loss from an attacking perspective and what he has achieved in the game in the last year or so. But bringing in the experience of someone like Leigh Halfpenny gives us a different element,” Gatland said.

"He is defensively probably the best full-back in the world in terms of his aerial game and coverage defensively. We had a long debate about whether we started Leigh in the first place and potentially move Liam to the wing.

"There was a long discussion about that so Leigh was probably unlucky he was not in the team in the first place. We are disappointed for a world-class player like Liam but we are happy bringing in someone with the experience of Leigh.”

READ: Boks change one for Rugby World Cup semis as Nkosi replaces Kolbe

It is widely expected that both the Springboks and Wales will employ a tactical approach in Sunday semi-final and Gatland is expecting a lot of territorial kicking from South Africa.

"It will probably be a kicking fest. They kicked 30 times against Japan so we have got to handle their game,” Gatland said.

"It won't be the prettiest game in the world. It will be a tight test match with probably teams playing for territory depending on what the weather is like.

"The ball will go in the air and we have got to be able to handle that and they have got to be able to handle our game as well.

Wales (15-1): Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright, Alun Wyn Jones © , Jake Ball, Tom Francis, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.

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