Rassie readies Boks for Rugby World Cup semi-final against 'desperate' England

Rassie readies Boks for Rugby World Cup semi-final against 'desperate' England

Rassie Erasmus is under no illusions as to the challenge that awaits the Springboks when they face England in the 2023 Rugby World Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Springboks director of rugby Erasmus began the mind games ahead of Saturday's Paris showdown by listing Steve Borthwick's potential team selection.

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.

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

"To talk about the All Blacks would be disrespectful to England because they™re a massive, massive speed bump for us to get over," said Erasmus.

"More so a pothole than a speed bump because I was just looking at the possible teams I think can play.

"They have so many experienced players that played against us last time. I think because they've played us in the World Cup final they will have some beef with us. I think they will be very physical, I think they will definitely step it up at all set phases."

Erasmus reverted to fully focusing on his director of rugby role after guiding his country to glory at the expense of England four years ago in Yokohama during a time when he also served as head coach.

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The 50-year-old went into specific statistical detail of the two teams he believes will take to the field at Stade de France.

He then, when prompted, listed England's possible matchday 23.

"I think we have averaged 200 minutes per player, they [are at] 260," said Erasmus.

"I think the average caps of our team will be about 54, they'll be about 59. I think the average age of our team is 30, the average age of their team about 29. And then the average weight is 104 (kilograms) and 105.

"England are unbeaten, they stuck to their guns since he (Borthwick) has been appointed, and they kept believing in what they're doing and it's paying off.

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"You can see their team is full of belief and they will definitely be hurting from not just last year when we beat them (27-13 at Twickenham) but also from the World Cup in 2019.

"So they will be a very, very desperate team and a team which we respect."

Asked for the England team written down on his sheet of paper, Erasmus replied: "We're guessing obviously.

"Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Chessum, Lawes, Curry, Earl, Mitchell, Farrell, Daly, Tuilagi, Marchant, May and Marcus Smith or Steward then Marler, Cole, George (Martin), Billy (Vunipola), Ben Youngs or Danny (Care), George Ford and Ollie (Lawrence), that's who we think.

"But we might be totally wrong."

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