“Owen stepped up and he’s been there before for us, he’s an exceptional talent and did pretty well on Sunday, but again Jon is a world-class player and you need your world-class players fit”
Wales are confident centre Jonathan Davies will be fit to return for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against the Springboks on Sunday, skills coach Neil Jenkins told reporters yesterday.
“Jon will be fine on the day, he’ll be fine. He trained most of the week last week as well, but didn’t feel he was quite right. But it is an important game on Sunday and we need all hands on deck to get through that match,” Jenkins said.
The 31-year-old was ruled out of Wales’ 20-19 quarter-final win over France with a recurrence of a knee injury which he had aggravated against Fiji, and was replaced by Ospreys’ Owen Watkin.
“Owen stepped up and he’s been there before for us, he’s an exceptional talent and did pretty well on Sunday, but again Jon is a world-class player and you need your world-class players fit,” Jenkins said.
“These games don’t come around very often, I think sometimes if your leg is hanging off you strap it to yourself to get yourself right, and I’m sure (he’ll) do that this week.”
The Welsh have won their last four matches against the Boks, but Jenkins reflected on the two nations’ overall head-to-head record to illustrate the size of their task. Of the 35 matches played, the Boks have won 28, with one drawn and six wins for the Welsh.
The last Bok win came in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals.
“They’re South Africa, an outstanding side. Uncompromising, very tough, very physical with some hugely-talented players as well especially on that back line, both wings are exceptional wings with footwork, speed both centres are very direct, very tough,” Jenkins said. “Then you’ve got Handré Pollard and Faf de Klerk who will control things, both exceptional players, so it’s a very, very tough game for us.
“You know we’ve done pretty well against them for the last few years it’s nice to get across the line and actually beat South Africa, I wouldn’t say our record is brilliant in history against them, but obviously has been over the last few years.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard all summer to get ourselves right for this moment, really, it’s what we dream about, being in a semi-final, being involved in a World Cup final.”