South Africa’s Rugby World Cup semi-final preparations continued in Paris, where they trained ahead of their upcoming clash against England. The defending champions secured their place in the semi-finals with a thrilling 29-28 victory over France, while England had earlier defeated Fiji.
This semi-final will be a rematch of the 2019 final, in which the ‘Springboks’ achieved a convincing win over England. South Africa aims to secure a fourth title, which would make them the most successful nation in World Cup history.
South Africa’s fly-half, Handre Pollard, anticipates a highly competitive match, as England may seek redemption for their loss in the last World Cup final. England, led by Eddie Jones at the time, suffered a 32-12 defeat to South Africa in the 2019 final.
Pollard acknowledged the disappointment on England’s faces and noted that if there’s a rivalry, they’ll embrace it, emphasizing that it’s test rugby and an 80-minute game.
Reigning champions South Africa are strongly favored to win and are expected to face New Zealand in the final, pending the outcome of the other semi-final between New Zealand and Argentina. England’s defense coach, Kevin Sinfield, acknowledged South Africa’s exceptional physicality in their quarter-final win against France.
The semi-final match is a replay of the 2019 World Cup final, where South Africa emerged as the victors with a dominant 32-12 victory. South Africa, guided by Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber, has further strengthened since their triumph in Japan, while England has undergone changes, including the appointment of Steve Borthwick as coach after Eddie Jones was dismissed.
The two teams have met twice in the past four years, with England winning one and losing one in the Autumn Internationals at Twickenham Stadium.