Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says he feels his side will have to grind out a result against England in the World Cup final on Saturday.
The Springbok players will begin field preparations for Saturday’s final on Tuesday, using the same training venue England used for their semi-final against New Zealand.
The Boks will have one day fewer to prepare than England, squeezing in two field sessions and a captain’s run either side of a recovery day on Thursday.
However, the coaching team had already turned their thoughts to England following the 19-16 semi-final win over Wales. The Boks won the 2018 incoming series against England 2-1, but narrowly lost in London in November.
‘We’ve played England four times in the last 18 months and it’s two-all, with three tests in South Africa and the last one at Twickenham, so we are accustomed to the way they play,’ Erasmus said.
‘They are obviously a lot better than the last time we played them. You could see it in the way they dismantled New Zealand. But we think we are in with a chance.’
Erasmus said the Springboks will not be changing anything from the way that they played against Wales, despite frustrations of the lack of running rugby.
‘I’m not sure that the World Cup final is going to be decided by an expansive game plan with wonderful tries,’ Erasmus said.
‘I might be right or I might be wrong – but we will go and grind it out. There are definitely some areas of our game that we have to improve if we want to win, but we’ve given ourselves a chance
‘We’re a team that’s been together for 25 matches. We’ve had personnel changes – with a guy like Cheslin [Kolbe] going out and Sbu [Nkosi] coming in – and we’ve played teams with different style and we’re still in a phase where we have to adapt.
‘If you play a team like New Zealand with a fast, running game we’re used to that; if we play a team like Wales with a long-distance kicking game it’s different for us to try and run from our own 22.
‘But we’ve grown a little bit of experience now and playing against Wales four times we’ve learned our lessons – especially in the Washington test – we were ahead in the last few minutes and then they clawed it back to win that test match.’
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