As Jonathan Davies entered what is called the mixed zone, a gauntlet lined with reporters who players have to walk through to get from their dressing room to the after-match buffet, following Wales’s semi-final defeat to South Africa, he was asked how he was feeling. The response was a disbelieving stare followed by “How do you think?” Davies carried on walking as fast as his left leg, which had been in a supporting cast during the match, would allow him. The question had been asked with his fitness in mind, after he had missed the quarter-final victory over France having been injured against Fiji, but the hurt was narrowly missing out on a place in the final for the second time in three tournaments and it was at its most raw. Four years of toil and pain had ended in heartbreak. Warren Gatland started planning for this weekend the moment Wales’s 2015 tournament ended, also to a late South Africa score, in the quarter-final at Twickenham. He became increasingly bullish about his side’s prospects at the World Cup as New Zealand’s grip at the top of the world rankings loosened to the point where Wales and then Ireland took over… Read full this story
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