Rugby Union

Sam Warburton: Wales not afraid of South Africa test

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Wales captain Sam Warburton insists his side have nothing to fear when they face South Africa in the World Cup quarter-finals.

A 15-6 defeat to Australia at Twickenham means Wales go through second in Pool A while Australia top the group and earn a last-eight clash with Scotland.

Wales beat South Africa 12-6 in the teams' most recent meeting in Cardiff last November, a result that avenged a 31-30 defeat in Nelspruit five months earlier.

The victory also ended Wales' 16-match losing streak against the 2007 world champions.

"We beat South Africa 11 months ago and the game before that out there we performed extremely well and could easily have come away with a win there," Warburton said.

"We've got a quarter-final against a side we've beaten in the last 12 months and we can take massive confidence from that.

"It's a challenge next week, great teams bounce back and I'm confident we'll do that."

South Africa lost to Japan in one of the greatest shocks in rugby history earlier in the tournament but have bounced back with resounding wins over Samoa, Scotland and the United States to go through top of Pool B.

"It shows what character they have," Wales coach Warren Gatland said.

"The disappointment (against Japan), and they haven't had a great 12 months as a side, but when it's mattered and people have criticised them it shows the character they have got."

Gatland revealed Jamie Roberts and Liam Williams are injury concerns ahead of the clash after Roberts suffered a knock to the head while Williams hobbled off with a foot problem.

Wales will have to be more clinical than they were against Australia, who played 10 minutes in the second half with 13 men but dug deep to emerge unscathed.

Dan Biggar kicked six points but it was five penalties from Australian fly-half Bernard Foley that proved decisive in an absorbing contest.

"It was courageous defence by Australia," Gatland said.

"They were throwing their body on the line. We got over the line three times but were held up. It was fine margins."

Warburton added: "The big lesson is if we spend that much time in their 22 we have to come away with more than a try.

"If we had done that it would have put Australia under pressure. That was disappointing but sometimes you have to put your hands up and say they defended great.

"We threw everything at them and we tried everything."

Australia showed their attacking prowess to demolish England last week and their resolute defensive display against Wales suggests they are the complete package heading into the knockout phase.

"It's not a secret weapon," Australia coach Michael Cheika said.

"If behind every man is a good woman, then behind every attack is a good defence.

"You're going to drop the ball sometimes if you play attacking rugby and you have to be prepared for that."

Cheika added: "I liked tonight. There wasn't much talent there, it was about getting stuck in, working hard for each other and trying to resist the opposition."

Scotland have won two of their last three meetings against Australia but lost to the Wallabies in the teams' most recent fixture in November 2013.

"I know people like to comment based on rankings but there's no favourable side of the draw, the only favour is that you're in it," Cheika said.

"You can't get away with a bad game. Australia has lost to Scotland the last couple of times and maybe that's because they thought they could. We won't be thinking that this week."

Cheika said number eight David Pocock sustained a knock to his calf during the match.

"David took a bang on his calf but it doesn't seem too bad," Cheika said. "He seems okay in the dressing room."

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