Springboks’ weather prediction for Paris … Lot’s of physicality with 100% chance of England kicking
To advance to a second straight final and move one step closer to capturing the championship for a record fourth time, the Springboks will need to defeat England in Saturday night’s semifinal matchup. England is also an unbeaten team at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The current world champions have a commanding record against England in World Cup games, having won four of their last five encounters, but they must be wary of the cunning Steve Borthwick’s team can deploy at the Stade de France in Paris (9 p.m. kickoff) to upset the established order.
They can also be turned on with the push of a button, as Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick cautioned, putting teams under tremendous strain, particularly in a play-off game.
The English team hasn’t dropped a game in the French competition, and they’re on the same unbeaten run to the championship game that they did in 2003 in Australia, when they became the first winners from the northern hemisphere.
In the group stages of the 2003 competition, they vanquished the Boks; next month, in November, will mark the 20th anniversary of that illustrious victory.
That might provide the England team, led by coach Borthwick, with some additional inspiration and drive to change the course of history. Two finals, in 2019 and 2007, as well as a quarterfinal matchup with the Boks, were losses for them.
Stick stated from Paris yesterday that if the South Africans want to win tonight, they can surely not look back to 2019 for any assistance.
In 2019, the Boks defeated the English 32-12 in Yokohama. They also defeated England 15-6 in the 2007 championship game, and they dominated England 36-0 in the tournament’s group play.
Without even getting into the year 2019, I can say with certainty that they are a completely different team now than they were last year, said Stick.
“I know they started slow under the new coaching staff with Borthwick, because we analysed them, and we go deep into how they do things and what they stand for.
“To be honest, there have been a lot of changes in how they do things. They are getting the results they are looking for, and you can see a shift in their mindset … they are really physical.”
But Stick also warned that England, much like France, are a very good kicking side, and they won’t hesitate to put the Springboks under pressure by looking for territory with the boot.
Every kick of flyhalf Owen Farrell, scrumhalf Alex Mitchell, fullback Freddie Steward, or the left boot of wing Elliot Daly will be chased with vigour – whether it’s a box kick, a chip over the defence, as Frenchman Antoine Dupont did in the quarters, or looking for territory with a 50-22 kick.
“If you look at the way they are kicking, you know (they are) probably the closest team to France, the amount of kicks you get in a game. We analysed some of the games, and even when they played against teams like Chile, they will probably go over 40 kicks in a game,” Stick said.
“That shows you there’s a bit of tweaking in how they do things.”
The biggest question on the Boks’ side is if the unchanged 23 players can repeat the performance from last weekend against France.
It was a physical test, and the Springboks had to claw their way out of a bunch of tricky situations that could’ve taken the game away from them.
The same is expected tonight, and captain Siya Kolisi and his team will have to dig deep to secure the win.
“One thing I can tell you for sure about us is that every game we’ve played in this World Cup, our boys – even with all the changes we sometimes make in our squad – always pitch up.
“And I know one thing for sure, they’re going to be up for this because of the history between the two sides.
Without a doubt, we won’t let you down. However, as I just mentioned, England is in a good position right now.
“I predict that things will remain unchanged tomorrow. Anyone who will step up, execute their plan flawlessly, and play the circumstances expertly will have a chance to prevail.
The Paris Teams
fifteen springboks Toby Willemse fourteen Kurt-Lee Arendse Damian de Allende, 12 Jesse Kriel, and 13 Chelin Kolbe, age 11. ten Manie Libbok Nine Cobus Reinach 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 8 Duane Vermeulen Two Bongi Mbonambi Steven Kitshoff, no. 1.
16 Deon Fourie on the bench 17 Ox Nche, and 18 Vincent Koch 19 R. G. Snyman Kwagga Smith, 20, and Faf de Klerk 23. Willie le Roux, 22. Handré Pollard.
English: 15 14-year-old Freddie Steward is followed by Jonny May, 13-year-old Joe Marchant, 12-year-old Manu Tuilagi, 10-year-old Elliot Daly, 8-year-old Ben Earl, 7-year-old Tom Curry, 6-year-old Courtney Lawes, 5-year-old George Martin, and 3-year-old Dan Cole. two Jamie George and one Joe Marler.
Bench: 16 Theo Dan is 17; Ellis Genge is 18 Ollie Chessum (19), Kyle Sinckler (19), and Billy Vunipola (20) George Ford 21 Danny Care 22 Ollie Lawrence, number 23.