Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Quick Hits: South Africa to power past England into final

South Africa celebrate victory over France
South Africa dumped the hosts France out in a classic World Cup quarter-final

South Africa face England in the World Cup semi-final and Simon Mail expects the Springboks to prove too strong...

  • England extend unbeaten run in France

  • South Africa edge classic against hosts

  • Springboks strong favourites to advance

England v South Africa
Saturday, 20:00
Live on ITV

England bid to upset Springboks

England face a huge challenge in their World Cup semi-final against the defending champions South Africa.

Saturday night's game is a repeat of the 2019 final in Japan, which the Springboks dominated, and England will have to produce an exceptional performance to upset South Africa.

Steve Borthwick's England have been criticised during this tournament but they are the only unbeaten team left in France. Their limited gameplan and direct style may not always be easy on the eye but it has not stopped England from reaching the semi-finals.

After topping their pool, England produced their best performance at this World Cup in their 30-24 quarter-final victory over Fiji. Owen Farrell justified his place at fly-half with 20 points, while tries from Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant edged England into the semi-finals.

Borthwick has made three changes from the team against Fiji for their semi-final showdown. Freddie Steward returns at full-back in place of Marcus Smith while Joe Marler is preferred to Ellis Genge at loosehead prop. George Martin makes only his fourth start for England, with the second row replacing Ollie Chessum.

South Africa are chasing their fourth World Cup triumph and the Springboks appear to be even stronger than four years ago. Heavily reliant on their physicality in the forwards and kicking game in Japan, South Africa have developed their attack and demonstrated their improvement in an extraordinary quarter-final win against France.

The Springboks edged to a 29-28 victory in a World Cup classic to end the hosts' hopes. South Africa and France traded tries in a relentless first half with the world champions trailing 22-19 at half-time. Eben Etzebeth's second-half try proved crucial though with South Africa denying France to leap to the top of the world rankings. Jacques Nienaber has unsurprisingly opted to select the same team to face England after their epic win at the Stade de France.

South Africa have won two of the last three clashes against England including their dominant 32-12 World Cup final success in 2019. The Springboks also won the most recent match last November, with a 27-13 victory at Twickenham with Kurt-Lee Arendse and Etzebeth scoring their tries.

England are unfancied at 6.05/1 to win Saturday's semi-final with South Africa strong 1.232/9 favourites. It is hard to envisage England winning in their current form and the Springboks' power and pace should prove too much for them.

It is unlikely to be a drubbing though, with South Africa worth backing to win by between eight and 14 points at 11/43.75. Two of their last three wins over their opponents have been by this margin and the Springboks can hold off England's challenge to return to the final.

Back South Africa to win by 8-14 points @ 11/43.75

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Who will win the Rugby World Cup? Latest betting odds

South Africa are 10/111.91 favourites to win the World Cup after their dramatic win over France. New Zealand are just behind them in the betting at 11/102.11 after dumping Ireland out.

England are third favourites at 14/115.00 while Argentina are the outsiders at 40/141.00.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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