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England 'two games away from lifting the trophy'

By PA
Owen Farrell of England shares a joke with Dan Cole of England during the Captain's Run at Institut National du Sport on October 20, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Topsy Ojo has backed England to reach the Rugby World Cup final but admitted they will need to “fight fire with fire” if they are to beat reigning champions South Africa on Saturday.

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England scraped past Fiji in last weekend’s quarter-final and face the Springboks at Stade de France in a repeat of the 2019 final.

Former England and London Irish winger Ojo believes England have what it takes to advance but he highlighted how clinical South Africa can be after they edged past France 29-28 in a thriller last week.

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Steve Borthwick previews the World Cup semifinal showdown between England and South Africa

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Steve Borthwick previews the World Cup semifinal showdown between England and South Africa

“They absolutely can (get to the final),” Ojo told the PA news agency.

“They’re here in the semi-final after getting themselves through the group and through the quarter-finals and now they’re two games away from lifting the trophy.

“When they have not got the ball, England need to stop the opposition getting into their 22 and getting into point-scoring range because whether it’s three points or five points, South Africa have shown, especially against France, that they need very few opportunities to go and score.

“After two errors (from France) South Africa had two tries on the board so it will be a game of fine margins, England will understand that.

“But it’s knockout rugby, if momentum and the crowd are with them, they could very easily find themselves in a World Cup final.

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“You have to match fire with fire and go toe to toe with them.”

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber named an unchanged XV ahead of their clash with England, ticking with the same team that showed quality in and around the breakdown against the French.

And ITV pundit Ojo shed light on South Africa’s physicality and how they have the quality to punish England.

“In and around set-pieces they’re called the bomb squad and with their forward pack you can see what they can do, their game is based around forward dominance,” Ojo added.

“Their kicking game as well. I think they won that battle against France hands down and there was a lot of talk in this tournament about kicking but the best teams show (their quality) and South Africa did that on the weekend.

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“They kick well and they got their rewards so that is definitely something England need to be wary of.

“When they get opportunities they have (Cheslin) Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse who are lethal finishers and if it’s for three points, they have (Manie) Libbok or (Handre) Pollard who will take their chances.

“They have a lot of different threats, but it’s nothing England won’t already know.”

Ojo admitted England will be the underdogs but believes that can work in favour of Steve Borthwick’s men as they hunt for their first World Cup success since 2003.

He said: “Sometimes the underdog mentality can work in your favour. England will need to theme the week very well and understand what the game means to them by generating the right emotions and intensity.

“It’s high pressure, it’s high stakes with high rewards.”

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Comments

3 Comments
C
CT 245 days ago

Title should be one game away from going home

s
strachan 246 days ago

Wild Dreams! Yessis England- the BEST in the world 🤣

A
Ace 246 days ago

In 2019 they were one game away …

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