DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan believes Wales will up the pace to avoid a confrontation with the South African juggernaut in tomorrow's World Cup semi-final.

Warren Gatland suffered a huge blow ahead of the clash in Yokohama when losing attacking dangerman Liam Williams.

But Ryan believes Wales, wary of the heavy Springboks front eight and their set-piece prowess, will still look to play at high-tempo even without their counter-attacking Lions full-back.

South Wales Argus:

"We saw signs of South Africa going back to type against Japan," said the Dragons director of rugby. "Over this tournament Wales have gone off at an incredible rate over the first 50 or 60 minutes and they won't want to sit in an arm wrestle, they will want to play at pace to keep South Africa at bay.

"It's an interesting challenge and South Africa will want to get their physical presence into the game. It's a huge contest but that's what World Cups are all about."

Former England forward Ryan expects it to be tight in Yokohama tomorrow, 24 hours after a similarly tense tussle between his countrymen and New Zealand.

South Wales Argus:

"The excitement about semi-finals is that you shouldn't be able to see who is going to win, and I don't think you can," said the former Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester boss, who left a role at the RFU to join the Dragons.

"That's the beauty of these contests and I think it will be very close in both games, but we are all hoping for an England-Wales final here, what a great occasion that would be!"

Next month Ryan will profit from the return of his Wales squad members who are all making an impact in Japan.

Aaron Wainwright was man of the match in the quarter-final win against France, Ross Moriarty scored the key try in the 20-19 win and Elliot Dee helped close out the game.

"That was an outstanding win for Wales and to see Dragons guys contributing to that is fantastic," said Ryan.

"Going into a semi-final is incredibly exciting, so I wish them luck and for them to continue their form.

"It can only strengthen their experience – what a game against France last weekend when under incredible pressure and struggling to find a way back in.

"They hung in there and that correlates to some of the things that we've got to be better at here.

"I am just incredibly proud of them and look forward to seeing them when they come back."