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South Africa´'s Handre Pollard expecting to face ruthless England in semi-final

South Africa's players take part in a training session at Fauvettes Stadium, in Domont, north of Paris, on October 17, 2023, as part of the France 2023 Rugby World Cup.   -  
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South Africa

South Africa trained in Paris as their preparations continued ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against England.

The defending champions reached the last four following an enthralling 29-28 win over hosts France with England beating Fiji earlier on Sunday.

The game will serve as a repeat of the 2019 final when the 'Springboks' claimed a resounding victory over England.

South Africa are aiming for a fourth title that will see them become the most successful nation in World Cup history.

South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard expects semi-final opponents England to have some "beef" with South Africa due to their defeat in the final of the last World Cup.

England are out for revenge after being beaten 32-12 by Erasmus' side in the 2019 final in Japan when they were coached by Eddie Jones.

"You could see the disappointment on their faces four years ago [after South Africa beat them in the 2019 RWC final]," said Pollard. "If there is going to be beef, there will be beef. It's test rugby, it's 80 minutes and we just have to play the game.”

Reigning champions South Africa are overwhelming favourites for victory and expected to face New Zealand, who take on Argentina in the other last-four fixture, in the final.

Defence coach Kevin Sinfield has revealed that England are "in awe" of the level of physicality South Africa displayed in their 29-28 quarter-final win over World Cup hosts France last Sunday.

The 'Springboks' will be looking to take another step towards a successful world title defence when they take on England in the semi-finals at the weekend.

Saturday's match at Stade de France in Paris is a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final, which England headed into as favourites only to suffer a humbling 32-12 defeat at the hands of the then unfancied 'Boks'.

South Africa, under the guidance of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber, are perhaps an even better side now than they were in Japan, while England have undergone a reset since the sacking of Eddie Jones after a poor run of results - Steve Borthwick replacing the Australian last December.

The two nations have met twice in the intervening four years - both games played at Twickenham Stadium in the Autumn Internationals - with England winning 27-26 in November 2021 before losing 27-13 to the 'Boks' a year later.

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