The low hum of Swing Low Sweet Chariot appears to be steadily growing in bass among the hundred-odd thousand rugby fans moving around the Paris streets this week. Prior to the tournament, there would not have been more than a handful of truly optimistic fans that would have given England a chance in the depths of hell of making the final – but here we are one game away.
The journey has been incredibly English – tough, resilient, and insistent upon giving their own fans a heart attack at every corner. Their time in France is due to come to an end in just under ten days whether they reach the final or not, but for these players and their legacies in an England shirt, the grand finale would be a deserving meeting place for many that have served their country so proudly over the years.
Despite the wealth of experience in the international setup, there has been the emergence of new talents coming into their own prime in this World Cup. Speaking in front of the world media in a press conference today, Joe Marchant and Ben Earl were keen to stress the level of confidence the squad is building internally. Ben Earl fielded the majority of the questions from the press, as he articulately described the feelings inside camp.
England: Steward; May, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly; Farrell (capt), Mitchell; Marler, George, Cole, Itoje, Martin, Lawes, Curry, Earl.
Replacements: Dan, Genge, Sinckler, Chessum, Vunipola, Care, Ford, Lawrence.
South Africa: Willemse; Arendse, Kriel, De Allende, Kolbe; Libbok, Reinach; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Vermeulen.
Replacements: Fourie, Nche, Koch, Snyman, Smith, De Klerk, Pollard, Le Roux.