2 Things to watch for in England’s semifinal clash with South Africa in the Rugby World Cup

England vs. South Africa should be a great battle
England vs. South Africa should be a great battle

England will take on South Africa in the second semifinal of the Rugby World Cup in Paris on Saturday. The English are the only unbeaten team left in the tournament and earned their place in the last four by beating Fiji in the quarterfinal of the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks, meanwhile, beat hosts France in an epic quarterfinal to go a step closer to defending their Rugby World Cup title. The semifinal, therefore, should be an absorbing clash, with neither team giving an inch to each other in it.

On that note, let us take a look at two things to watch for in the match:

Two things to watch for in England vs. South Africa in Rugby World Cup

#1. The Springboks have a powerful pack, but their defence has been vulnerable at times:

South Africa have traditionally had a very powerful pack of forwards, who usually dominate the set-pieces and breakdowns.

Someone like Eben Etzebeth demonstrated his prodigious power in overpowering a few opposition players and then scoring a try against France to secure their win.

England should be wary of the South Africans’ physicality, and the likes of Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant will have to play a key role.

South Africa also posed a threat with their high kicks against France, with the bounce of the ball going their way and helping them score a couple of tries. England will also have to guard against that.

The kicking battle could also be a key one in determining the fate of the match, as both teams will want to collect as many points through penalties as possible. Owen Farrell has been in good form of late and collected 20 points against Fiji with his perfect kicking.

Hanre Pollard, meanwhile, might not start for his side, but should be ready to come in as a substitute, as he did against France.

#2. England’s speed through the wings might prove to be key:

England have a speedy winger in the form of Johnny May and full-back Henry Arundell is also capable of scoring tries with his expeditious runs. The South African defence will have to stretch themselves considerably to negotiate with their threat.

Should the battle in breakdowns gets evened out, the ability to score tries through the wings could prove to be the decisive factor. England probably have the upper hand in that regard and should want to press home their advantage.

It remains to be seen if the South Africans are able to nullify England’s threat through the wings. Should they be able to do so, they will be the favourites to go through to the final of the Rugby World Cup.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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