After England stunned defending Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand 19-7 in the first 2019 semifinal on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan, the South Africa Springboks followed up with a hard-fought, tactical 19-16 victory over the Brave Dragons of Wales, to set up a rematch of the 2007 World Cup final on November 2. The Springboks took their first major trophy in 10 years in August when they won the Rugby Championship, as The Inquisitr reported.
Now, South Africa will enter next weekend’s final looking to win their third World Cup, and first since defeating England in 2007. England will be playing for their second title, in their fourth World Cup final appearance in the nine total editions of the tournament.
England and South Africa have faced off in international test matches four times in the last 18 months, with each team winning twice, as The Guardian newspaper reported. As a result, South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus says that his team is well prepared for England’s highly fast-paced running game.
“We are accustomed to the way they play and we think we are in with a chance,” Erasmus told The Guardian.
“I am not sure it will be a final won through an expansive game plan and wonderful tries.”
England stunned New Zealand on Saturday with a blistering attack in a match that started with English players winning the pre-match mind-game. As the All-Blacks performed their traditional, and intimidating, haka, the England team formed a “V” and even encroached into New Zealand’s half of the field, risking possible discipline for violating “cultural ritual protocol,” according to a Guardian report.
But England coach Eddie Jones said that he personally orchestrated the England response to the New Zealand haka, in order to demonstrate that his team was “ready for anything.”
“We wanted not to just stand there and let them come at us,” England Captain Owen Farrell added.
But if the England side psyched out the defending world champions by their display of indifference to the haka, their largely dominant win over the All-Blacks may already be taking a psychological toll on the Springboks.
“The margin of victory surprised us a bit,” said Springboks lock Lood de Jager told the BBC.
“I think England are the favorites and on their performance (against New Zealand) they deserve to be. But for us, we have a foot in the door and anything can happen.”
The England vs. South Africa 2019 Rugby World Cup final is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time at Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday, November 2. In the United Kingdom, that start time will be 10 a.m., while in South Africa, the kickoff will come at 11 a.m. Start time in the United States will be 5 a.m. EDT, 2 a.m. PDT.