Reigning Rugby World Cup champions South Africa confirmed their place in next week’s final with a tense come-from-behind 16 – 15 win over England.
Controlling proceedings for 77 minutes, England looked set to pull off what would have been one of the most remarkable of Rugby World Cup semi-final upsets.
Pinning the Boks back, England captain Owen Farrell was masterful with his kicking game both in open play and from the tee.
Landing what looked set to be a match-defining drop goal in the 52nd minute, Farrell once again displayed his big-match temperament.
Such was the pressure that England were applying that the Bok coaching staff were forced into replacing flyhalf Manie Libbok at the 30-minute mark.
This was followed by a wave of substitutions early in the second half, which proved to be the difference in the end. As they have done all tournament, the Bok bench took the physicality up a level, in particular at scrum time.
Having struggled to get a foothold in the match at any point, the Springboks struck with their one opportunity as giant secondrow RG Snyman scored the match’s only try.
Handre Pollard would land the conversion to bring South Africa back within three points.
From here, the match would be played between the two ten-meter lines, and when England fullback Freddie Steward knocked on just inside his team’s half, there was an air of inevitability.
Big Match Temperment
Pollard once again justified his recall to the squad as he stood up and slotted the difficult penalty to take their first lead of the fixture.
The final minute would see a frantic set of phases as England looked for any in-road into the Bok defence.
Despite making a few dents, the gap never appeared. In the end, Billy Vunipola would knock on as the contest came to a close.