DRAGONS flanker Aaron Wainwright says Wales have shown they can grind it out after moving to within 160 minutes of World Cup glory.

The 22-year-old from Bassaleg was named as man of the match as Warren Gatland's men struck late for quarter-final success against France.

Wainwright scored in the first half and then his Rodney Parade teammate Ross Moriarty crossed at the death to steal the spoils from Les Bleus.

The French were the better team but the Six Nations champions progress to Yokohama to face the Springboks after passing yet another test of character.

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"We have been building for the past 18 months, and the belief has always been there. Coming in at half-time behind, we still had belief we could get the job done," said blindside Wainwright, who has played in all 14 of Wales' Tests this year.

"It is a massive achievement for the team. It's great to come away with the win and look forward to the semi-final and eyes on the final as well.

"To hopefully come away with a trophy at the end of it would be nice. That showed we can grit our teeth and get the job done, even if it wasn't the prettiest."

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Wainwright was to the fore in a dramatic clash in Oita.

The flanker scored his first Test try to get Wales back into the game after falling 12-0 down and he was then elbowed in the face by France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina, leading to the game-changing red card.

 

"I was a bit surprised the referee didn't see it to start off with, but thankfully the television match official pulled it up and it was dealt with," he said.

"We put the pressure on afterwards and saw the game through. I am fine at the moment. It wasn't that nice at the time."

Wainwright's try led to a celebration in tribute to the Stags 7s, a team linked to Whiteheads RFC in Newport.

"The ball popped up, and I can't really remember what happened apart from sprinting towards the line," said Wainwright.

"I have got a sevens team back home called the Stags, so that was what the celebration was about."

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Warren Gatland is confident that Jonathan Davies will get the green light to boost Wales' bid for semi-final glory against South Africa on Sunday (kick-off 9am).

The Lions centre was a late withdrawal against France after failing to recover from the knee injury suffered against Fiji and he was badly missed.

Wales failed to click in attack in Oita, their two tries in the 20-19 win coming from French mistakes, and had their line crossed three times without their defensive leader.

"Jonathan wasn't far away from being right, he just made a made decision that was best for the team," Gatland said.

"We assessed him in the morning and he wasn't 100 per cent. Hopefully over the next 48 hours he'll put himself in contention for the semi-final."

Wales trailed 12-0 in the opening stages and 19-10 at half-time but struck late, to Gatland's relief.

"Hats off to France because they were excellent and were very unlucky. They have definitely improved since the Six Nations," he said.

"I'm very proud of our players because they never give up even when they're under a bit of pressure. They keep fighting and finding a way to get a result.

"The red card was significant but that sometimes galvanises teams as well. The last time we met in a World Cup it was very a similar score - that was a one-point game.

"We didn't play our best but we showed great character and that's testament to this group of men and now we can look forward to the semi-final.

"We're excited about where we are - the semi-final of a World Cup. (Captain) Alun Wyn Jones said it's 240 minutes to do something you'll remember for the rest of your life.

"We're down to 160 now. If you can't get excited about that then nothing will excite you."

Wales will monitor influential number eight Josh Navidi after the Cardiff Blues forward was forced off in the first half by a hamstring injury.