Wales go into today’s quarter-final with a heavily depleted side, and few give them a chance of overcoming a strong South Africa side. The Springboks lost their opening game to Japan, but since then, have built momentum and look like real contenders to go all the way.
However, the Welsh have been known to be a side who can upset the odds, and react well in the face of adversity.
As build-up to the big game in Twickenham this afternoon, we profile three occasions in recent times when the Welsh recorded famous victories, despite not being fancied by many.
2013 6 Nations v England
England were on a charge for the Grand Slam, and after a strong victory in Dublin, few expected Wales to offer any huge opposition. The Welsh suffered a home defeat to Ireland on the opening weekend, but made steady progress to work themselves back into contention. They were mathematically still in with a shout of claiming the championship, but with Stuart Lancaster’s side building momentum with a home World Cup just two years away, this was always unlikely.
What materialised was simply astounding. Chris Robshaw and Co. were sent packing, with a 30-3 loss to cap off the most unlikely of victories, in what was a famous night at the Millennium Stadium.
Video credit to WRU Official.
2005 6 Nations v France
Two years previously, a Wales side in disarray succumbed to a Wooden Spoon. However, things were turning, and the Welsh were finally ready to join the party of professional Rugby. Meanwhile, England were suffering from a World Cup hangover. Mike Ruddock’s side defeated the English at home before a comprehensive victory away to Italy. However, a trip to Paris looked to spell the end of the road for a brave Welsh outfit, buoyed by the emergence of Gavin Henson.
However, a Martyn Williams brace of tries ensured that France were shocked at home, and Wales went on to win the most unlikely of Grand Slams.
Video credit to Woody Darter.
2015 World Cup v England
Wales’ poor form towards the end of 2012 ensured that they were third seeds for the Rugby World Cup, creating a difficult pool for the 2015 tournament. Drawn with Australia and hosts England, it was always going to be tough, before a host of injuries made the task seemingly impossible. The Red Rose entered the tournament in reasonably good form, defeating Ireland in their final warm-up game, before recording a bonus point victory over a tricky Fijian side. In front of a home crowd, England were surely not going to be stopped, particularly after building up a ten point lead.
But we all know what happened next. Dan Biggar didn’t read the script, and kicked the Welsh into the quarter-final.
Video credit to Sports Bump.