Davies injury adds to Welsh discontent after South Africa defeat
Warren Gatland’s side beaten 24-15 in bruising Millennium Stadium encounter
Wales players reflect on defeat to South Africa at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.
Wales will have to do without centre Jonathan Davies for the rest of the autumn international series as Warren Gatland’s side were hit by a string of injuries during their 24-15 defeat to South Africa.
Scarlets three-quarter Davies, one of the stars of the summer’s British & Irish Lions tour of Australia, props Adam Jones and Scott Andrews, plus winger Liam Williams were all forced off by half-time of a savage Millennium Stadium contest.
But it is Davies who appears to have come off worst, with the pectoral injury he picked up after making two scything midfield breaks ending his November campaign and putting his participation in the Six Nations in doubt.
Gatland said: “Jonathan Davies has done a pec which will probably keep him out for the rest of the campaign.
“He was a big loss to us in the first half as he had made a couple of breaks. He is a pretty important player to us at the moment and he is pretty disappointed.
“I have just spoken to the physio and they said it might settle and he could be back in December.
“If he needs an operation it could be five months and out of the Six Nations as well. We will wait and see what happens.”
Gatland deemed the injury list as “relatively serious” with tighthead Jones picking up a strain in his right calf, Williams taking a bump to the head and Andrews suffering a neck problem.
Wales’ face Argentina in Cardiff next Saturday before completing their November fixtures against Tonga and Australia.
On the day, tries from Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez, seven points from Morne Steyn and a conversion from Pat Lambie were enough for the Springboks to see off the Six Nations champions in Cardiff.
Wales registered five penalties through the immaculate boot of Leigh Halfpenny but it was not enough.
The hosts had battled back from 17-6 down to trail by just two points, but were undone by an innocuous kick-ahead by man-of-the-match Du Preez.
Rhys Priestland failed to deal with the loose ball near the touchline and Jaque Fourie pounced to flick back inside for Du Preez to claim the clinching try.
But replays showed Fourie had been ahead of Du Preez when the ball was kicked and therefore offside.
Gatland, who also admitted he had not been happy with the playing surface at the Millennium Stadium, was disappointed but did not criticise referee Alain Rolland, who was refereeing a Wales side including Sam Warburton for the first time since sending the flanker off during the 2011 World Cup semi-final.
“The injuries were pretty disruptive, we had to shuffle the backline around but I thought the guys coped with them pretty well,” Gatland said.
“South Africa started well and the first 20 minutes was us getting used to playing at that tempo and physicality again.
“We got back into the game at 17-15, even though we were two tries to nil down at that stage, and if you look at the replay we felt Fourie was in front of the kicker and maybe, if we had been a bit quicker and gone to the referee to ask him to go to the TMO (Television Match Official), rather than being a try under the posts to them it is a penalty to us on halfway.
“Those are big moments in games but I am not criticising the referee for that. It was legitimate, we had the luxury of having a look at the replay afterwards.”
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, meanwhile, praised the character his side showed in fending off the Welsh fightback.
He said: “It was a really tough encounter and we expected a very physical game.
“It could have gone either way but we were really focused and very disciplined and it shows a lot of experience to score three tries against a team like that and I am very proud of the guys.
“We made a huge step-up in our defence, we took every chance we got and scored some great tries and you could see our experience. There was no panic, in the second half they played well but we kept our defensive lines. But we remain humble and move on to the next game.”