End of the road for battered and bruised Welsh

Graham Reid
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Injuries look set to finally catch up with Warren Gatland’s Wales
Graham Reid with top tips for two titanic RWC quarter-finals

THE RUGBY World Cup enters the quarter-final stage this weekend with four mouth-watering matches lying in wait.

New Zealand look set for a strong win against France and, with a similar outcome expected for Australia against Scotland, it’s the other two fixtures that are attracting my interest.

Wales face South Africa at Twickenham tomorrow. In classic Springbok style, they have selected a huge XV to batter Warren Gatland’s already bruised squad into submission.

The likes of Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, and impressive rookie Lood de Jager pose a hard-hitting defensive proposition.

Wales, with their depleted backline, lack the required cutting edge.

This match could be an arm-wrestle, particularly with the added pressure of the competition now entering the knockout stages.

I’m backing South Africa to prevail with only one or two hard-earned tries in a forward-dominated tussle. That makes a sell at 3.4 on the total tries market appealing.

Betway are offering 7/4 on the first try of the game coming from a forward, which also looks like good value.

It’s hard to see past the South Africans, who have only lost twice to Wales in their history. The 12-6 defeat to the men in red last November was not only in Cardiff, but against an almost full-strength side.

Momentum is crucial in World Cups. Since the shock opening result against Japan, South Africa have been building up a head of steam.

Wales, meanwhile, have gone from a breathless escape against England to a demoralising defeat against Australia. In neither game have they looked dominant.

It could be a chastening experience for Warren Gatland’s side who, I fancy, don’t have a third big performance in them. Sadly, I think they will fizzle out as the final whistle approaches.

Japan aside, South Africa have scored a try in the last 10 minutes of each of their World Cup matches.

While this makes 1st South Africa try minutes an appealing buy at 36, the market is a bit too volatile for my liking.

Instead, I’ll buy South Africa supremacy at 9 with Sporting Index, and expect a late Springbok score to give the result a flattering look.

A forward to score first try 7/4 (Betway)
Sell total tries 3.4 (Sporting Index)
Buy South Africa supremacy 9 (Sporting Index)