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England, South Africa Face Off In Rugby World Cup Final

Rugby Union – Rugby World Cup – Final – South Africa Training – Arcs Urayasu Park, Urayasu, Chiba, Japan – November 1, 2019 South Africa’s Mbongeni Mbonambi and Siya Kolisi during training REUTERS/Edgar Su

Rugby enthusiasts globally are expecting a mouth-watering World Cup final clash between the global giants South Africa and England at Yokohama International Stadium, Japan.

The two teams will be relying on certain tactics including speed, pace, urgency, quickness of thought and deed, and selectivity in when to engage in the physical battle.

England had all of that from start to finish against New Zealand and they will need it again, perhaps even more so, to knock two times winners South Africa out of their stride in the final.

England will want more of that for 80 minutes on Saturday, working the big South African side back and forth again and again hoping to run the legs off them and then penetrate the gaps when they appear.

The contrast with how South Africa played against Wales in their semi-final was extraordinary — the Springboks were never in a hurry to go anywhere.

Rugby Union – Rugby World Cup – Final – England Captain’s Run – Fuchu Asahi Football Park, Fuchu, Tokyo – November 1, 2019 England’s Jonny May during the captain’s run REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

England will try to disrupt that by making a nuisance of themselves at rucks, but they will be selective, knowing that they could waste precious energy trying to shift some enormous Springboks forwards for often no real benefit.

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Instead they will back themselves to deal with the aerial assault they know is coming.

The African continent representatives, the Springboks have pretty much reverted to what has worked for them for decades, and though they may have the odd trick up their sleeves for the final, the selection of six forwards on the bench is an indicator of how they will approach the game.

It is a simple, proven game plan and when executed well, even against teams fully primed for it, one that can be difficult to combat as Wales found in the semi-final.

Orchestrating the system are flyhalf Handre Pollard and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, a bundle of energy who can also make rugby time stand still when poised at the back of an immovable ruck waiting to send yet another kick high into the sky.

Then the pace of outside backs Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi and the hyper-dangerous Cheslin Kolbe give chase to put receivers under pressure.

Centers Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende are more from the “through rather than around” school of centers but Springboks’ hopes of victory probably depend more on Pollard kicking penalties than his fellow backs running in tries.

Their first time to bag the title was in 1995 just a year after the end of apartheid, a South Africa team faced overwhelming favourites New Zealand, who had Jonah Lomu coming off the back of four tries in the semi-final against England.

They beat New Zealand 15-12 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

They again went all out for the trophy clinching it for the second time in 2007 after beating England 15-6 at Stade de France, Paris.

This weekend’s kick off will be at 9:00 am UK time, 11:00 am in South Africa and 6.00pm in Japan.

It is being played at the Yokohama International Stadium – the same venue where Brazil beat Germany in the 2002 football World Cup final.

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Written by PH

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