Rugby World Cup 2019: Warren Gatland urges Wales critics to write them off before South Africa semi-final

Welsh coach Warren Gatland is bemused that many consider his side to be underdogs for this Sunday's Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa - but he hopes that continues.

Gatland is bewildered by the long odds placed on the Welsh, who have beaten the Springboks in their last four clashes, with the Boks' last win coming in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final.

But most pundits feel the South Africans will be too strong in Yokohama and have greater depth.

"The nice thing about being here is you are kind of in a bubble," said Gatland. "You do not see a lot of the stuff externally.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Warren Gatland urges Wales critics to write them off before South Africa semi-final

"If they continue to do that over the next couple of days, that would be brilliant. Please, please keep doing that, because it does get us up, when people write us off.

"I can't understand why people would write us off, when our record over South Africa has been pretty good in the last 4-5 years and that speaks for itself."

Kiwi Gatland expects Sunday's showdown to be a very tight game.

"We saw that first half with South Africa-Japan and that was a tight game.

"It will probably be a kicking-fest... they kicked 30 times against Japan, so we've just got to be able to handle their game.

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

"You'll see a lot of ball going in the air and we'll have to handle that, and they'll have to handle our game too."

Even though Wales have had the upper hand in recent games, the South Africans' overall record over Wales is lop-sided with 28 wins, a draw and six defeats.

The winners will face either New Zealand or England in the World Cup final on November 2. 

Join us at 10pm Sunday for live updates of the South Africa v Wales Rugby World Cup semi-final.

Reuters

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