ROSS MORIARTY was scared he had cost Wales World Cup glory and ruined his career.
Back-row Moriarty’s high tackle on France centre Gael Fickou — 90 seconds after coming on in last Sunday’s quarter-final — saw him sin-binned. He was lucky not to be dismissed.
3 Ross Moriarty feared he'd wrecked his career with his yellow card against FranceCredit: Reuters
3 Moriarty went on to score the winning try as Wales made the semi-finalsCredit: AP:Associated Press
But after escaping with a yellow and then scoring the winning try in the 20-19 victory, he is ready to go to war with South Africa in Yokohama.
He said: “To get the yellow card was disappointing. I was thinking ‘Please, please don’t be a red’. I’ve been in that situation before and it’s not nice.
“I knew how bad that would be. In my head it was a case of ‘If he gives me a red card this is the end of me’. I was worried I’d cost the team the game.
“Thankfully the referee didn’t take it too harshly. But when I realised he was going to his pocket I made sure it wasn’t going to be red. It wasn’t intentional.
“To be able to put the ball down at the end was such a good feeling.
“If we win on Sunday maybe people will think I got the try that got us to the semi-final. Hopefully that’s what they’ll remember more than a yellow.”
Hardman Moriarty is set to start at No8 against South Africa after Josh Navidi was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Wales have won their last four meetings with the giant Springboks.
Moriarty was sent off in Argentina in June 2018 for a choke-hold on Pumas’ Nicolas Sanchez, so staying disciplined will be vital in the battle ahead.
He said: “South Africa are a physical team. This is a game I look forward to. I know their forwards thrive on being physical and that’s what I thrive on as well.
“Some players go into hiding when it gets tough but I think I get better in those situations. To be involved in a game like this is why I started playing.”
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Wales are still sweating on key centre Jonathan Davies for Sunday’s game and his knee injury was heavily strapped again in training yesterday.
Defence coach Shaun Edwards said: “It’s seize- the-moment time. We have a bit more confidence than we had in 2011 when we reached the semi-final. It’s on, isn’t it?”
BAD PEYPER CUT
REFEREE Jaco Peyper has been stood down from this weekend’s semi-finals — after being pictured pretending to elbow Wales fans in the face.
The South African sent off France’s Sebastien Vahaamahina for an elbow against Wales. He said he was having a laugh with the snap.
But yesterday his bosses said in a statement: “Peyper recognises that a picture which appeared on social media after the Wales-France quarter-final was inappropriate and he has apologised.”