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Monday Oct 28, 2019

England fans full of confidence after semi-final displays leave them happy to play South Africa

England and South Africa will meet on Saturday in the Rugby World Cup final for the second time after coming through two completely different semi-finals.

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After Eddie Jones’ side obliterated the All Blacks on Saturday in one of the all-time great RWC performances, the Springboks’ match against Wales was somewhat different.

Warren Gatland predicted that his side would be embroiled in a “kicking fest”, and that manifested in Yokohama. Wales showed attacking endeavour early in the game, and were able to exploit the Springboks’ narrow defence, but as the game progressed, both sides turned to the boot more frequently.

In light of the performance, England fans are growing in confidence that they may be able to avenge the final loss in 2007. There is simply no denying that there was a gulf in class between the two semi-finals, as the Springboks’ game was based upon preying on Wales’ mistakes.

With the scores level at 16-16 with ten minutes to go, Alun-Wyn Jones’ side could easily have come away victorious, but it was ultimately a Handré Pollard penalty that proved decisive.

In contrast, there was barely a moment where England did not have the upper hand against the defending champions, in a stunning display. Based on those two matches, it is understandable why England fans on social media feel upbeat.

This is what has been said:

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England are favourites going into the final, and rightly so, but fans should not expect them to dismantle the Springboks in the way they did the All Blacks. Jones’ pack were able to assert their dominance physically from minute one in both attack and defence, but against a South African side that has a pack to match, they cannot expect to be as successful.

Meanwhile, in the same way Wales would not have wanted to play the game that they did, there is the danger that England can become subsumed into the kicking game that the Springboks play, which may not necessarily mean they lose, but it will make the match a much closer affair.

With both sides expected to raise their game, and the inevitable nerves of a final, England fans should prepare for a nail biting contest.

As buoyant as the fans and team will be after the win over the All Blacks, it will mean nothing if they do not recreate that level of intensity in the final.

You can watch extended (23 minutes) highlightsof the match below

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