Moriarty relishes Boks battle after fearing it was curtains for him

The Wales forward finished a hero with the late try that led to the quarter-final win over France. But there was a moment when he thought he might see red for a mistimed high tackle.

TOKYO, 23 Oct - Ross Moriarty has revealed the moment he feared his World Cup was over - and with it, Wales's hopes.

The forward received a yellow card for a high tackle on Gael Fickou, pictured above, just seconds after coming on as a replacement, then grabbed the late try in a thrilling 20-19 quarter-final victory over France on Sunday.

"I was just thinking, 'please, please don't be a red'," said Moriarty about the moment South African referee Jaco Peyper was talking with Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones before the official produced the yellow card.

"That was definitely a big moment. I had been on for only 90 seconds and I was thinking to myself, 'If he gives me a red card, this is the end of me'.

"I knew how bad that would be for the team. I've been in that situation before and it's not a nice feeling. I never go into a game intending to do anything that would get me a card or put the team at any risk of not winning.

"It was a mistimed tackle. I closed my eyes and thought he was going to run round me, but he stopped and ducked under me. 

"It was nice for me to know I didn't cause any damage. I talked to him (Fickou) after the game and he was absolutely fine. We had a good laugh.

"I knew when I came back on I had to be very, very squeaky clean and make sure I didn't do any more damage to the team and myself.

"But it does stick in your mind. I was thinking, 'Please, no one come near me'. Sometimes people slip up in tackles, players duck and dive. It's a contact sport - it's inevitable sometimes. Fortunately, there were no other incidents in the game."

Moriarty, who was sent off against Argentina last year, did play his part in another major incident with just four minutes remaining. 

After Justin Tipuric was stopped centimetres short of the line, Moriarty scooped up the ball and plunged over for the try which Dan Biggar converted to snatch victory and book Wales's place in Sunday's semi-final against South Africa in Yokohama.

"I was running towards the ball and just thinking, 'I can't mess this up', said Moriarty. "I didn't even want to reach out in case someone came from nowhere and kicked the ball out of my hands.

"So I just landed on my head first and got the ball under my chest to make sure no one could come in and get it. It was a great scrum effort by the boys, a great rip by Tomos (Williams).

"Tips said he didn't know how he didn't score it. I was thinking, 'He's basically over the line, now someone has to do it'.

"It ended up being me but it could have been any one of us. It was probably the easiest try I've ever scored but probably the most nervous I've been when scoring one.

"I haven't really thought about it being significant. If we win this weekend, maybe people will think that I got the try that got us into the semi. Hopefully, that's what they'll remember more than the yellow."

Moriarty insists he will not temper his game as Wales take on the feared Springboks pack with a place in the World Cup final at stake.

"We all know the All Blacks are very physical, but South Africa are renowned for being a physical team, too. They've got some very good backs, so we know what we're going to have to do to keep them at bay.

"This is a game I look forward to. I know what their forwards thrive on, which is being physical, and that's what I thrive on as well. Some players go hiding when it gets tough, but I think I get better in those situations."

Moriarty's dad Paul, and his uncle, Richard, played for Wales in the World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand in 1987.

"It's a great feeling for me and my family. My uncle, auntie and cousins are coming, which is really nice. My parents have already been here once and stayed for only five days.

"When we won at the weekend I think my dad was watching Wasps as my brother-in-law was supposed to be was playing. They are coming out on Thursday and will be staying until Monday, so that makes it extra special.

"I didn't think about playing in a World Cup semi-final when I was younger. It's all come quite quick. We all know rugby is a short career, but it's going very fast now.

"I'm 26 next year. To be involved in a game like this at the weekend is what I started playing the game for."

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