Rugby World Cup Semi Finals lineup adjustments for England
The highly anticipated Rugby World Cup semi finals clash against South Africa will see Freddie Steward return to the England squad at full-back. So, taking place in Paris marks a rematch of the 2019 final, where the Springboks emerged victorious. Head coach Steve Borthwick is making a trio of crucial changes to the starting XV. Steward will be taking over the full-back position, displacing Marcus Smith.
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Then Joe Marler will replace Ellis Genge as the loosehead prop, and George Martin will step in for Ollie Chessum in the second row.
The alteration at full-back was necessitated by an incident involving Marcus Smith. Who was forced off for a head injury assessment but passed it. Nonetheless, Freddie Steward returns to bolster the team as they face the side that bested them in the Rugby World Cup final four years ago.
Notably, Marcus Smith is not even listed among the replacements for this crucial encounter. The bench options for the backs will include Danny Care, George Ford, and Ollie Lawrence.
On the other hand, England’s captain, Owen Farrell, experienced some vocal opposition . When his name was announced before the quarter-final victory against Fiji, he retained his role at fly-half. Then Farrell went on to earn the “man of the match” title in a hard-fought contest. Helping England maintain their unbeaten record in the Rugby World Cup. This was particularly satisfying after Fiji had defeated England in a pre-tournament.
So, Steve Borthwick is well aware that his team will need to summon their utmost resolve to challenge the reigning world champions. With the prospect of a final clash against either New Zealand or Argentina.
Nienaber’s Warning: Underestimate England at Your Peril
In the context of the Rugby World Cup Semi Finals. South Africa has decided to maintain their lineup, a rare occurrence in the tenure of head coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus. Who has seen 64 Tests. They have shown unwavering faith in the squad that secured a nail-biting 29-28 victory over the hosts, France, in the quarter-finals.
Notably, eight of the South African players in this unchanged lineup, including Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen, Bongi Mbonambi, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Damian de Allende, and Cheslin Kolbe, were part of the victorious 32-12 win over England in the previous Rugby World Cup final. The experience gained from that triumph is expected to be a valuable asset in their upcoming clash in Paris.
Jacques Nienaber acknowledges the formidable challenge posed by Steve Borthwick’s side, the only undefeated team left in the RWC tournament. England arrives at this encounter with five consecutive victories, riding a wave of confidence. They possess a high-quality pack and world-class backs capable of creating magic on the field, making them a force to be reckoned with. Dismissing their capabilities would be a significant error.
Both teams find themselves just one win away from securing a spot in the Rugby World Cup final. And history has shown that England tends to elevate their performance in these critical matches. The defeated side would be relegated to the third-place playoff if they lose this semi-final.
As Nienaber points out, the two teams are closely matched in terms of average player age and caps. Both are accustomed to performing on the grandest stage of rugby. With the coveted trophy within reach, the semi-final becomes a do-or-die situation. And neither side is willing to concede an inch in their quest for Rugby World Cup glory.
Owen Farrell’s Precision Leads England to Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals
Owen Farrell’s precise kicking steered England into the Rugby World Cup semi finals in a hard-fought encounter against Fiji in Marseille. England established a comfortable 14-point lead with just 15 minutes left on the clock. However, Fiji’s Peni Ravai and Vilimoni Botitu orchestrated a thrilling comeback, leveling the score at 24-24 in a frantic four-minute period. It was at this crucial juncture that Farrell. Who faced initial skepticism when chosen over George Ford as the starting fly-half, validated his selection with a clutch drop-goal, pushing England ahead 27-24.
In the 78th minute, another Farrell penalty provided a bit more breathing space for England. The tension mounted when a deliberate knock-on by the fly-half awarded Fiji a penalty as the clock ticked into the red. Nevertheless, England managed to secure possession on the ground, clinching a memorable victory.
Following defeats for Ireland and Wales on Saturday, England stands as the lone remaining home nation in the tournament. Their next challenge is a showdown against defending champions South Africa in the semi-finals. Setting the stage for a repeat of the 2019 RWC final.
England entered the match as favorites. But the memory of a disappointing loss to Fiji in a series of RWC warm-up games in August. Along with inconsistent performances in the pool stage, had tempered expectations.
The English supporters significantly outnumbered Fijian fans in Marseille. And the trip proved worthwhile as their team delivered a spirited performance. The match began with the same vibrancy as Fiji’s striking orange kit, marked by fierce and bone-crunching tackles.
England’s momentum continued to build, as they maintained a high tempo. An advancing rolling maul made valuable progress before the ball was swiftly recycled. Thus allowing Manu Tuilagi to overpower his opponent and score England’s opening try in a display of sheer muscle and determination.
Steve Borthwick: Anticipation Grows for Rugby World Cup Semi Finals
Steve Borthwick, England’s head coach, expresses his anticipation for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals. By emphasizing the excitement surrounding the upcoming clash. “We’re eagerly looking forward to this. Our fans and players are buzzing with excitement. The atmosphere in Paris, ahead of this crucial RWC semi finals, is absolutely electric. Our supporters have been a constant source of inspiration throughout the tournament,” Borthwick says.
Borthwick underscores the team’s primary focus on self-improvement and progress. “Our primary concern is our own development and growth as a team. We’ve witnessed significant progress week by week during this RWC tournament. Regardless of the challenges our players have faced in previous games, we’ve consistently found ways to emerge victorious.”
He also emphasizes the deep commitment of the players to representing. England, emphasizing the desire for a performance that brings pride to the nation. “We have a group of players who hold the honor of representing England very close to their hearts. It’s my mission to ensure they deliver a performance that we can all be proud of on Saturday night.”
Belief is a fundamental aspect of the team’s mentality, as Borthwick points out. “This team has a strong belief in its abilities, a conviction that has been evident since I rejoined. Emphasizing the importance of the breakdown, England strategically kicked for the corner after securing an early win on the ground. A swift and forceful offensive drive faced a relentless barrage of powerful Fijian tackles. Ultimately, Steve Borthwick’s squad won a penalty right in front of the posts, and Owen Farrell confidently slotted three points.
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