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England's World Cup semi-final record gives them hope against South Africa

By PA
Owen Farrell's finest hour yet as England captain was leading them to victory over New Zealand last Saturday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England will be appearing in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals for the sixth time when they lock horns with current champions South Africa at the Stade de France on Saturday.

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Here the PA news agency looks back at their previous five last-four encounters.

1991, Edinburgh: Scotland 6 England 9

Rob Andrew’s drop-goal clinched the win for England but Scotland captain Gavin Hastings earlier missed a simple penalty in front of the posts with the score tied at 6-6. It was a gruelling encounter short on thrills and Scotland have never been as close since.

Video Spacer

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

Video Spacer

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

1995, Cape Town: England 29 New Zealand 45

A harrowing afternoon for English rugby saw giant wing Jonah Lomu run riot at Newlands, scoring four tries including one in which he marauded through Tony Underwood, Will Carling, Mike Catt and Rob Andrew.

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2003, Sydney: England 24 France 7

It was far from a classic because of the conditions but England eventually prevailed through the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, who landed three drop-goals and five penalties. Frederic Michalak managed just one of his five shots at goal for France.

2007, Paris: England 14 France 9

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Josh Lewsey scored an early try for England but hosts France fought back through three Lionel Beauxis penalties to edge 9-8 ahead. But Wilkinson came to the rescue once again by landing a penalty and drop-goal in the last five minutes.

2019, Yokohama: England 19 New Zealand 7

England delivered possibly their greatest World Cup performance of all, routing the All Blacks with the scoreline failing to reflect their dominance. Manu Tuilagi crossed in the second minute, setting the tone, and George Ford kicked four penalties.

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3 Comments
T
Turlough 244 days ago

2003, Sydney: England 24 France 7

Thought that was actually a classic match with a seriously strong French team also contending for the final but meeting the great English match winning machine. One image I recall is Martin Johnson reaching over the ruck to life Freddie Michalak up by the hair and place him down again. England played the wet conditions perfectly with Mike Catt as second kicker. Probably their best performance that year with a flat poor performance in the final.

f
finn 244 days ago

Afrikaaner logic

N
Ninjin 244 days ago

Clutching at straws.

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Flankly 9 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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