In a game full of kick and chase, South Africa always seemed to be on top, though they needed a Handre Pollard penalty four minutes from time to finally kill off Wales's spirited challenge and edge the game 19-16.
That'll be New Zealander Warren Gatland's last game in charge after 12 years with Wales.
But his counterpart Steve Hansen is only too aware of being on the receiving end of an upset, as the assistant of a heavily fancied New Zealand team stunned by France in the last eight of the 2007 Cup. "We are a team that's been together for 25 test matches, and we do play teams with different styles".
Whether his teams win, lose or draw, Warren Gatland always speaks from the heart.
Supporters across South Africa and throughout the world celebrated as the Springboks displayed ongoing tenacity and strength on the field leading to a triumphant win.
"With 76 minutes on the clock at 16-16 I thought we had a bit of momentum", he said. There was a big turnover from a breakdown. "And it was a tense game", Sharon, a South African Rugby supporter said. "I'm very proud of the team as well, you guys have done extremely well".
The Six Nations Grand Slam winners were never in front, but were never far behind, either, despite a mounting injury toll. The game delivered on expectations for a tight, physical contest at the breakdowns and a lot of kicks - 81 from hand in all.
"While they might have had it easy in the pool stages, they will have had to beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa [to lift the trophy]".
After turning down a chance at a long-range shot at goal, Wales won the close-range lineout to pressure the Springboks line.
"Then I go back to the (British and Irish) Lions (for the 2021 tour) to try to get some revenge on South Africa". "If we play a team like Wales who play a long-distance kicking game, it's hard for us to run from our own 22".
And the team showed fantastic commitment to hammer at the Springbok line before sending Josh Adams over in the corner, which, after a brilliant conversion by Leigh Halfpenny, leveled the scores.
"It's good that he thinks we can go all the way - that's great!"
Erasmus was then in a director of rugby role, but assumed the head coach duties for the journey to Japan and since then they defeated the All Blacks in New Zealand and won the 2019 Rugby Championship.
"They're human. They bleed, they drop balls, they miss tackles like every other player".
"It will be hugely monumental".
Flanker Justin Tipuric said it was important to give Gatland a positive send off.
"I'm hurting, obviously disappointed but we've still got an opportunity to make a bit of history", said veteran captain Alun Wyn Jones.